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John D. Woolery named president and project manager of BWCS; Brenda Mills named director of environment, safety and health

woolery.jpgLexington, KY (June 12, 2014)  -- John D. Woolery, currently president and general manager of B&W Pantex, has been named president and project manager of Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services (BWCS) beginning July 1, 2014.  The announcement was made by Chuck G. Spencer, chairman of the BWCS board and chief operating officer of B&W Technical Services Group.

BWCS is the Department of Energy contractor on the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride (DUF6) Conversion Project, reporting to the Department’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office in Lexington, KY.

“John brings multiple levels of experience in the management of federal nuclear facilities to this new position, with a resumé that demonstrates positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career,” Spencer said.  Woolery led all aspects of the Pantex Plant operations and achieved the highest plant performance evaluations in the plant’s history.

Woolery will replace Jeff Stevens, acting BWCS president and project manager.  Former BWCS President George E. Dials, who managed the project since the contract was assumed, resigned at the end of March. Spencer also announced that Brenda G. Mills, who retired at the end of May from her position as director of the Office of Safety & Quality Assurance for the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Savannah River Site, will assume the position of director, environment, safety & health for BWCS in mid-June.

DSC07225.jpg“Brenda’s record as the DOE’s senior safety officer at Savannah River covers global responsibility for all aspects of safety,” Spencer said.  “She has led and directed nuclear safety, radiation protection, integrated safety management, industrial safety, industrial hygiene, construction safety engineering contractor training, quality assurance, fire protection and site performance assurance.  We welcome her to the DOE contractor world.” Mills replaces Mark B. Mattheis, acting ES&H director.  Former ES&H director Michelle M. Reichert became deputy manager of B&W Pantex in 2013.

A Memorable Achievement!

Just as Memorial Day started at midnight on May 26, the DUF6 Project’s total Fiscal Year 2014 production surpassed all of FY 2013’s total.  The two plants exceeded last year’s 13,579 metric tons of material processed with more than five months still remaining in FY 2014.

“This is a terrific achievement by our two plants,” said Jeff Stevens, acting president and DUF6 Project manager.  “It’s especially gratifying since it occurred over the holiday weekend, which is typically a slower time.  Our teams at both plants are to be congratulated.”

EXECUTIVE CHANGES AT BWCS

George Dials, first BWCS president and DUF6 Project manager, left the company April 4 to return with his wife, Pamela, to his home in Santa Fe, NM, later in the month.

“The challenges of getting this project going kept us here much longer than we anticipated,” Dials said.  “I am looking forward to settling in and getting re-involved with my home state.”

He has served as BWCS president since the company assumed the contract for the Department of Energy’s DUF6 Project in 2011.

Jeff Stevens, vice president of operations for the Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group, is acting president and project manager until a permanent replacement is named.

Tom Robinson, who has been the plant manager of the DUF6 Paducah (KY) plant since BWCS assumed the contract, is leaving the Project April 18 to return with his wife, Gail, to his home near Augusta, GA, where he expects to be occupied for some time with overdue home maintenance.

Robert C. Hogg, deputy manager of the DUF6 Paducah plant, has been named acting plant manager.   He was a senior technical advisor when the contract was assumed, and was named deputy plant manager in October, 2012.

Scott named deputy manager at Piketon plant

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Lexington, KY (Dec. 16, 2013) - Dr. Gary L. Scott has been named the deputy manager of the DUF6 Project’s conversion plant in Piketon, OH.  The position is new.

Scott was previously acting plant deputy manager and director of waste management and transportation.

The DUF6 Project – operated for the Department of Energy by Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services LLC (BWCS) – began in 2011 to convert the nation’s 800,000 -metric ton inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) to more benign forms for sale, ultimate disposal or long-term storage.  The Project also operates a plant in Paducah, KY.

“Scott’s appointment rounds out our management team at Piketon,” said George E. Dials, BWCS president. “He brings extensive international and national experience in nuclear safety and nuclear engineering to his appointment, as well as documented management leadership skills.”

Scott holds a doctorate in political science from Idaho State University, as well as master’s and undergraduate degrees in engineering and energy resources.   He served as deputy manager of the Department of Energy (DOE) Carlsbad Field Office and was the facility manager of the Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory.

As a DOE senior nuclear engineer representing the United States with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he was a member of the International Association of Environmentally Safe Disposal of Radioactive Materials and a senior analyst for the Department of State at the IAEA, developing the US position on nuclear safety and radioactive waste management.

B&W Conversion Services, LLC, is a single purpose company formed by Babcock & Wilcox and URS in 2011. Headquartered in Lexington, KY, BWCS was created to safely and effectively operate the Department of Energy’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities in Paducah, KY, and Piketon, OH.

Piketon plant reaches five years of safe operations

November 8, 2013

Piketon, OH (Nov. 8, 2013) -- The Piketon OH plant of the Department of Energy’s DUF6 Project marked five years of safe operations without a lost-time accident on Tuesday.  That’s 1826 days, or 1,916,103 work hours of safe operations.

nan1.pngRuss Hall,  environment, safety and health supervisor,  flips the days on the Project’s sign to mark five years of safe operations.

The DUF6 Project – operated for the DOE’s Portsmouth Paducah Project Office (PPPO) by Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services LLC (BWCS) – started operations in 2011 to convert the nation’s 800,000 metric ton inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) to more benign forms for sale, ultimate disposal or long-term storage.

“It took every one of our nearly 200 employees five years of concentrating on safety to reach this milestone,”  said Ken Collier,  plant manager.  “In a complex work with rigorous processes, this is a remarkable achievement. Every single employee deserves credit and recognition.”

The plant’s sister operation in Paducah, KY, has just celebrated one year of safe operations without a lost time accident.

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BWCS employees from all departments of the DUF6 Project plant in Piketon, OH, turn out to mark five years of  safe operations without a lost time accident.

 

B&W Conversion Services, LLC, is a single purpose company formed by Babcock & Wilcox and URS in 2011. Headquartered in Lexington, KY, BWCS was created to safely and effectively operate the Department of Energy’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities in Paducah, KY, and Piketon, OH.

DUF6 Project doubles production in 2013

November 5, 2013

Lexington, KY (Nov. 5, 2013) -- The Department of Energy’s DUF6 Project more than doubled its 2012 production with a total of 13,679 metric tons of DUF6 converted in FY 2013.

The DUF6 Project – operated for the Department of Energy by Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services LLC (BWCS) – was started up in 2011 to convert the nation’s 800,000 metric ton inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) to more benign forms for sale, ultimate disposal or long-term storage.  The Project operates plants in Paducah, KY and Piketon, OH.

“Since 2011, we have been ramping up production to determine and achieve the safe, sustainable operating rate of the plants,” said George E. Dials, BWCS president.  “From an initial conversion of 270 metric tons in FY 2011, when we demonstrated that the lines were operational, we have now converted more than 20,000 metric tons.  In FY 2012, our production was 6170 metric tons.  And in FY 2013, we surpassed our goal of 12,685 metric tons and more than doubled ’12 production.”

“Our goal now is to surpass a total of 22,700 metric tons processed in FY 2014, an increase of 60 percent,” Dials said.   “For the past 30 months we have been ramping up production and adjusting and modifying the plants and equipment to determine the rate that can be safely sustained in continuous operations.  In this fiscal year, we will be adjusting systems to increase reliability and availability, which will account for the increased production.”

“BWCS is continuing to pursue operating and support maintenance plans to achieve maximum safe performance,” said Jack Zimmerman, federal project manager at the Portsmouth Paducah (DOE) Project Office.  “Improvement is a continuous and iterative process, and the ongoing ramp-up strategy calls for gathering data under variable operating conditions and making adjustments throughout the year.”

“This is a real milestone for this start-up project,” said Dials. “Naturally, we encountered many challenges as we began operating these two new manufacturing facilities, and have dedicated much creative energy and forensic engineering to solving production and systems issues. The projects are now clearly demonstrating their value in the cleanup of the nation’s environmental materials.”

The two DUF6 plants – each employing approximately 200 people -- were originally designed to operate for up to 25 years, while it is expected to take 18 to 30 years to convert the extensive inventory of DUF6 generated by six decades of uranium enrichment at the gaseous diffusion plants located on the same sites as the conversion facilities.

 

B&W Conversion Services, LLC, is a single purpose company formed by Babcock & Wilcox and URS in 2011. Headquartered in Lexington, KY, BWCS was created to safely and effectively operate the Department of Energy’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities in Paducah, KY, and Piketon, OH.

 

 

DUF6 Project passes production milestone

April 1, 2013

Lexington KY Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services announces that the DUF6 Project passed a FY2013 milestone on March 24 when total production for the fiscal year topped 6218 metric tons of DUF6 processed.

That number tops all of the production for fiscal year 2012, when 6170 metric tons were processed in 12 months. The 6218 metric tons for FY2013 were processed in just under six months, including plant outages of three weeks at both conversion facilities in Piketon, OH, and Paducah, KY.

At the beginning of March, the Project also announced that it had shipped more than two million gallons of hydrofluoric acid for FY 2012 and the first five months of FY2013 (the federal government and its contractors are budgeted and operate on a fiscal year starting Oct.1). Sales of HF so far have returned revenues of more than $1 million in economic benefit to the Department of Energy and American taxpayers.

“Reaching these milestones is a clear indication that we are on the path to safe, sustainable production,” said George E. Dials, BWCS president and project manager. “We encountered many challenges as we started up these two new facilities and have dedicated much creative energy to solving production and systems issues. These milestones demonstrate that we are being successful.”

“We’re looking forward to the day when the plants achieve their optimal production targets,” said Jack Zimmerman, the DOE project manager at the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. “This is an exciting milestone on a longer path.”

“We are working to increase production substantially with an incremental rampup strategy,” Dials said. “As a result, we expect that we will be able to identify the point where all systems and equipment can operate on a sustainable throughput basis by the end of this fiscal year (Sept., 2013). At that point, we will begin working not just on production, or on identifying operating capacity, but on stabilizing the many elements that impact production capability.

“We are currently at the mid-point on our incremental strategy,” he reported.

“As the result of strong efforts by the staff at both plants, we are starting to see large increases in effectiveness and in shortening the time it takes to repair aberrant conditions. This is largely a result of the runtime since we started real production in 2011 and 2012, and what we have all been able to learn about the safety, equipment and support systems and their interactions. “As with any manufacturing plant, this will always be a learning environment,” he said. “We do think, however, and gratefully, that the learning curve is becoming more shallow as we increase production.”

The two plants – each employ approximately 200 people -- were designed to operate for up to 25 years while it is expected to take 18 to 30 years to convert the extensive inventory of DUF6 generated by six decades of uranium enrichment at the gaseous diffusion plants located on the same sites as the conversion facilities.

There is presently some half million metric tons of DUF6 in 46,000 cylinders awaiting conversion at Paducah, and a quarter million metric tons of DUF6 in 26,000 cylinders at Piketon.

DUF6 Project has safely shipped two million gallons of hydrofluoric acid

March 6, 2013

Lexington KY (March 6, 2012) Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services announces that the DUF6 Project has safely shipped more than two million gallons of hydrofluoric acid (HF) since it began conversion operations. More than one million gallons have been shipped from each of the two plants located in Piketon, OH and Paducah, KY.

The two plants reached the first million gallon milestone in Sept., 2012.

Sales of HF so far have returned revenues of more than $1 million in economic benefit to the Department of Energy project and American taxpayers. BWCS delivers the HF for industrial use to Solvay Fluorides, LLC, under Solvay’s contract with BWCS.

“Ultimately, we will be loading several million gallons of HF a year for shipment and generating millions in long-term revenues and hundreds of millions in savings by avoiding disposal of the HF.,” said Jack Zimmerman, the DOE project manager at the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. “It allows us to recycle an important industrial product as we clean up the nation’s legacy of uranium enrichment.”

The plants were designed to operate for 18 to 25 years to convert the extensive inventory.

The HF is a co-product of the conversion of DUF6 to a more stable form for ultimate disposal. The two plants were constructed by the Department of Energy specifically to convert the nation’s inventory of DUF6, a residual product of the nation’s uranium enrichment programs.

BWCS CONCLUDES FY2012 DEMONSTRATION GOAL AS PADUCAH KY PLANT REACHES TARGET

September 24, 2012

Lexington, KY (Sept. 24, 2012) Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services announces that the company – which operates the DUF6 Project for the Department of Energy -- has surpassed its multi-week demonstration goal by operating all four production lines at the plant continuously and simultaneously for 14 days from Sept. 4 through Sept. 18. The Paducah plant has had one or more lines running for 30 days since the first line was brought up. 

 All four lines are still running.  The plant started the first line on Aug. 25.  From that time until the demonstration period ended, the plant processed 562 metric tons of DUF6.

 The Piketon OH plant previously completed its demonstration of continuous multi-line operations on Aug. 24. All three lines at the Piketon plant are still operating.

 “Paducah’s achievement – along with Piketon’s – clearly shows the progress that has been made in bringing these plants to steady operation,” said Jack Zimmerman, DUF6 project manager for the Department of Energy’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.  “DOE looks forward to both plants achieving steady state conversion operations.”

 “Our Paducah plant had some technical challenges in bringing all lines up,” said George E. Dials,  BWCS president and project manager, “but ultimately the effort of the team– working under plant manager Tom Robinson – showed in their results.   We congratulate them on this significant achievement.”  

 “Our goal now is to continue production while we determine and ramp up to the optimal throughput rate,” Dials said.  “We expect to reach that determination by the end of the next fiscal year.”

 The Piketon plant has had one line running for 52 days, and all three lines running for 28 days.  A total of 1208 metric tons of DUF6 were processed in this time period.

 BWCS committed to DOE that it would complete both multi-line demonstrations before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.  

 The DUF6 conversion plants were constructed to convert the inventory of 785,000 metric tons* of DUF6 held at Piketon OH and Paducah KY to a safer form in preparation for its ultimate disposal.

DOE’s Portsmouth Paducah Project Office, Babcock and Wilcox Conversion Services sign Partnering Agreement

AUGUST 10, 2012

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Lexington, KY (August 10, 2012) – Officials of the Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Paducah Project Office and Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services – operators of the DUF6 Project for PPPO – today signed a Partnering Agreement as a step in improving productivity through streamlined processes.

William Murphie, manager of the PPPO office, and Jack Zimmerman, DUF6 project manager for PPPO,  signed on DOE’s behalf.  George E. Dials, president and project manager, signed for BWCS.

BWCS operates the DUF6 plants in Paducah, KY and Piketon, OH under contract to the PPPO.  The plants were built to convert the nation’s inventory of DUF6 – a coproduct of the nation’s half-century of uranium enrichment – to safer forms for industrial use or eventual disposal.

The Partnering Agreement, which describes mutual shared values and objectives, lays the groundwork for improving and sharing work processes that will ultimately increase work productivity as both organizations work together.

“We are delighted to commit our offices and staff to an agreement that focuses on how we can work together better and more productively,” Murphie commented.  “We already share a mutual commitment to the success of the Project; now we will also emphasize the processes that can make us more successful.”

“Along with our DOE partners, we are developing a model of excellence and performance that will have long-term positive consequences for how the work is done and long-term savings for the American taxpayer,” Dials said.

Both organizations have put action plans in place for continued joint work and for streamlining work processes.

B&W Conversion Services, LLC, is a single purpose company formed by Babcock & Wilcox and URS in 2011. Headquartered in Lexington, KY, BWCS was created to safely and effectively operate the Department of Energy’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities in Paducah, KY, and Piketon, OH.

J. Kent Fortenberry named Chief Engineer

May 6, 2012

Lexington KY --  “I’m delighted to announce that J. Kent Fortenberry is joining the Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services team as Chief Engineer,” said George Dials, BWCS president and project manager.

“Fortenberry will be joining us May 29 to fill the position previously held by Chuck Armitage, who passed away in February,” he continued.  “Kent brings a high level of nuclear expertise and operating experience to the position, and we look forward to his contributions as a key member of our executive team.”

For the past three years, Fortenberry has served as vice president of high-level waste integration for URS Corp. (Aiken SC).   Previously, he held technical and supervisory positions with Parsons Corp., Entergy,  and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (GE).

Fortenberry is best known for his leadership of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, where he concluded his 16 years of service to the Board with an eight-year stint as technical director.   For his service, he received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive and the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive. 

His primary task at the DNFSB was directing the technical efforts of the agency in providing nuclear safety oversight to Department of Energy defense nuclear activities.

This included oversight of design, construction, operation, and deactivation of facilities utilized for nuclear material production, storage and processing;  nuclear weapon assembly and disaassembly; spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste storage and processing, and related research and development.

“I’m excited to join BWCS,” Fortenberry said.  “The team is impressive and coherent, the challenges are interesting and compelling, and I’m looking forward to the hands-on work and to helping bring the project to the outstanding level of performance BWCS leadership has defined.”

Fortenberry holds a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Virginia and a senior reactor operator license from Grand Gulf Nuclear Station.

Paducah site earns KY Governor’s Safety and Health Award.

March 8, 2012

Paducah KY (March 8, 2012) -- The Paducah DUF6 plant operated by Babcock and Wilcox Conversion Services for the Department of Energy has earned the prestigious Kentucky Governor’s Safety and Health Award for its 2.2 million work hours without a lost time accident or illness.

This is approximately five and one-half years without a lost time injury or illness for every single one of the 199 employees at the facility at year-end.   Organizations with 126 to 250 employees are required to have 500,000 hours without a lost-time injury or illness to earn the award.  The BWCS employees totaled more than four times that amount.

Kentucky Labor Secretary Mark S. Brown presented the award at ceremonies at the DOE site this morning.  Accepting for BWCS and the DUF6 Project were Tom Robinson,  plant manager;  Michelle Reichert,  BWCS director of Environment, Safety & Health;  and Donna Steele,  president of United Steel Workers Local 550 for union employees.

“Operating safely is a BWCS core value,” Robinson said.  “It is how we accomplish our mission.  We want everyone to go home at the end of the day at least as well as when they arrived.  While our management philosophy supports safety as a priority process – and we support that with programs and effort – this award is clearly also attributable to the efforts of every single employee at the DUF6 Paducah facility.   Companies don’t earn awards like this.  People do.”

Four lines running.

January 18, 2012

One line is running at Piketon and three lines are running at Paducah,  as both plants work to test and control multi-line production.  The short-term objective is bringing all lines up and sustaining operations,  while testing and correcting integrated support systems.  Fully operational status (see Oct. 4 release below) means that each line ran independently to demonstrate functionality,  testing the capacity of a single line and its support systems.   The plants are now integrating all lines and systems for the first time,  with the intention of observing equipment issues that would impact full production.

BWCS Has Reached Fully Operational Status.

October 4, 2011

Paducah KY & Portsmouth OH (Oct.4, 2011) -- B&W Conversion Services (BWCS) announced today that the Depleted Uranium Hexafluorid6 (DUF6) Project at the local Department of Energy sites reached the stretch goal of having all conversion lines fully operational by Sept. 30.

 “We had decided that Sept. 30 would be our stretch goal for having all seven lines fully operational,” said George E. Dials, BWCS president and project manager.  “It took the collaborative effort of all of our people and the DOE Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office to reach it.  I am extremely proud of our team and their achievement.”

“The process of ramping up to meet this objective created many challenges.  Some 450 people worked long hours with perseverance and skill to make this happen.  Additionally, a significant safety milestone was met when the Project hit more than two million hours without a lost time accident.”

 “This is an important and essential step to achieving full, sustained production and supporting the nation’s -- and the Department’s -- commitment to dispose of the residue of the nation’s uranium enrichment plants,” said William E. Murphie, manager of DOE’s PPPO [Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office]. “We’re delighted that the DUF6 Project has brought the lines at both plants (four lines at Paducah, KY and three at Piketon, OH) to fully operational status.

“Congratulations to the DOE staff and contractor Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services and its employees who worked so diligently to get us here.” Murphie said.

“This six-month effort was essentially a start-up of the conversion facilities,” Dials said.  “We expected that we would have challenges, and that most parts of the system would break at least once.  That happened. . . sometimes more than once.  It became an essential part of the start-up and learning process.”

Fully operational means that all the independent components in a single line work together in an limited run to produce the desired product, running at approximately 75 percent of nominal design capacity, and including cylinder exchanges.
The plants are tasked with the conversion of 740,000 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride now in 63,000 steel cylinders at the sites.   The DUF6 is the remainder product from decades of uranium enrichment at gaseous diffusion plants on the Paducah and Portsmouth OH reservations.

DUF6  has been generated in the United States as part of the process of enriching uranium for both civilian and military applications since the mid-1940s.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) operated three gaseous diffusion plants (GDP’s), near Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant near Piketon, Ohio; and the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, near Paducah, Kentucky.

BWCS manages the conversion operations at the DUF6 plants in Paducah KY and Piketon OH for the Department, and took over the managing contract at the end of March this year, after construction and hot functional testing.

B&W Conversion Services, LLC, is a single purpose company formed by Babcock & Wilcox and URS in 2011. Headquartered in Lexington, KY, BWCS was created to safely and effectively operate the Department of Energy’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities in Paducah, KY, and Piketon, OH.