Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


The Savannah River Site (SRS), a 310 square mile (198,344-acre) site, is located in the south eastern coastal area of the United States in the state of South Carolina. It is bordered to the west by the Savannah River and Georgia. It is in an area referred to as the Central Savannah River Area, or CSRA. The site's center is approximately 23 miles southeast of Augusta, Georgia, and 20 miles south of Aiken, South Carolina, the two closest population centers. There are over 1,000 facilities at the site concentrated in only 10 percent of the total land area. The topography is gently sloping to moderately steep.

The Savannah River Site (SRS) was constructed in the early 1950s by DuPont, designer and builder of the plutonium production complex at Hanford, WA for the Atomic Energy Commission to manufacture materials for national defense, primarily tritium and plutonium-239.

SRS's primary mission since its inception until the early 1990s was production and separation of plutonium and tritium for use in national defense programs. The current SRS mission involves waste management and vitrification, special nuclear material (SNM) storage, research and development, and technology transfer. SRS also recycles tritium from the weapons stockpile. Recycling is accomplished at the tritium facilities (232-H, 233-H, and 234-H). High level waste is being stabilized through vitrification and disposal of the low activity fraction of waste as saltstone. Other secondary missions involve disposition of nuclear materials and facilities, including five production reactors (all of which are shut down), three chemical separation plants, three tritium facilities, 51 high level waste underground storage tanks, and a high level waste processing facility.

The Savannah River Site is a DOE industrial complex dedicated to environmental management and cleanup, nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and nuclear materials disposition in support of the U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts. DOE's Savannah River Operations Office is responsible for oversight of the EM operations at SRS. Two other DOE offices, the Savannah River Site Office and the Office of Site Engineering and Construction Management oversee the missions supporting the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration at SRS.

The Savannah River Site is owned and funded by the Department of Energy. It was previously operated by Washington Savannah River Company, which consists of the Washington (formerly Westinghouse) Savannah River Company LLC, Bechtel Savannah River, Inc., BNG America, BWXT Savannah River Company, and CH2 Savannah River Company. WSRC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Washington Group International.

The Savannah River Integrated Team Management Contract was awarded to the Westinghouse Savannah River Company (WSRC) effective October 1, 1996. The five year, $6 billion contract is a performance-based contract that provides payment of fees to contractors only if they achieve specific, defined results. The Savannah River Integrated Team Management Contract provided a framework to accelerate the implementation of contract reform initiatives, to increase productivity and cost-effectiveness, and to improve contractor performance and accountability. The contract included the following results-oriented performance objectives:

  • Maximizing the conversion of high level liquid waste into solid (glass) form through the Defense Waste Processing Facility to reduce life cycle costs, and attain production rates of greater than 150 canisters in fiscal year 1997 before any incentive fee is paid.
  • Reducing costs for maintenance and monitoring of old high level waste tanks by closing three tanks in fiscal year 1997.
  • Completing Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) Recommendation 94-1 nuclear material stabilization commitments by the end of fiscal year 2001 on an accelerated schedule. Stabilization of existing nuclear materials at the site will reduce proliferation risk, reduce potential for inadvertent nuclear criticality, and substantially reduce surveillance and maintenance costs.
  • Reducing costs of funded environmental restoration (ER) activities and using these cost savings to accelerate ER activities, which expedite completion of these efforts, enable unfunded environmental restoration projects to be initiated, and produce faster and more cost-effective cleanup of the site.
  • Consolidating tritium operations into fewer facilities while meeting all production requirements to permit earlier cleanup of unneeded facilities, thereby reducing costs.

There were also a significant number of subcontractors that support this team. Approximately 13,900 personnel were assigned to the contract as of September 30, 1996. Other contractors/interagency agreements at SRS included Wackenhut Services, Inc., which was responsible for site security; the U.S. Forest Service, which was responsible for forest management; the University of Georgia, which managed the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which assisted with oversight of design and construction activities.

In January 2008, the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC won a $4 Billion contract to manage the site. The contract is a cost-plus award-fee contract valued at approximately $800 million per year and is for a five-year base period with the option to extend it for up to five additional years. SRNS is a limited liability corporation consisting of Fluor Federal Services, Inc., Honeywell International, Inc., and Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company (a Northrop Grumman Company). The team also includes subcontractors Lockheed Martin Services, Inc. and Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. The transition period of the new contractor will begin on January 24, 2008 and will be completed in 90 days. SRNS will assume management and operation of the Savannah River Site under the new contract in April 2008. The base period of the contract is from January 2008 through December 2012 with a five-year option from January 2013 through December 2017.

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