Cooling Tower Demolished in SRS Footprint Reduction

-Original article in the Aiken Standard-

In a matter of seconds, a $90 million structure that took three years to complete was reduced to millions of pounds of rubble as the cooling tower at Savannah River Site’s K-Reactor was imploded Tuesday.

The 450-foot-tall, 345-foot-wide tower was safely demolished Tuesday as part of the sitewide Footprint Reduction Initiative funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The second-largest cooling tower to be demolished worldwide, K Cooling Tower was completed in 1992. It was conceptualized to cool the water in a reactor in support of national defense initiatives, which were ceased soon after.

The demolition was managed by American Demolition and Nuclear Decommissioning Inc. with specialists Controlled Demolition Inc. handling the placement of explosives and implosion.

The total cost of the project is $3,982,430, which includes bringing down the tower, breaking up the larger pieces and then transporting the rubble to SRS’ on-site landfill.

“The cooling tower demolition project is unlike any other closure initiative taking place at the site,” said Dewitt Beeler, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) director of Area D&D Projects. “It isn’t every day that we deal with the demolition of a structure the size of the K Cooling Tower, and it was clear early in the process that we needed expert help.”

In all, more than 3,860 holes were drilled at strategically selected spots on the tower and loaded with explosives. The charges were detonated in a controlled fashion involving precise sequencing and timing to ensure the tower fell in a selected impact-zone.
“The demolition of the K Cooling Tower marks the achievement of a significant milestone in the Recovery Act mission at SRS,” said Rita Stubblefield, deputy federal project director for the Department of Energy. “It has allowed us to create new jobs while reducing the site’s cleanup footprint.”