Savannah River Mission Completion has partnered with Claflin University challenge students to improve the method of removing and replacing equipment contaminated with radioactivity inside the Savannah River Site saline waste treatment plant.
The partnership is part of an ongoing effort by SRS to support historically black colleges and universities and also aims to strengthen the school’s science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum, also known as STEM. , according to a press release.
SRMC is one of the site’s major employers, responsible for the safe reduction of curies, or radioactive material, in the site’s aging waste reservoirs.
Students will work on ways to improve the method of removing and replacing the radioactively contaminated device called the strip effluent coalescer in the process plant’s solvent recovery system. The coalescer combines small droplets of solvent to form larger droplets, allowing their separation from high-activity salt waste, depending on the release.
Any proposed improvements would both use fewer resources and reduce the risk of radiation exposure to workers when removing, transporting and replacing equipment, according to the statement. The current process involves the hands-on use of a specially designed transport cart and crane.
“One of our goals is for the students to consider all possibilities to make our processes safer and better inside the salty waste treatment plant,” said Dave Olson, President and Program Director of SRMC. . “We want to motivate students to solve real technical problems.”
Karina Liles, Claflin’s interim chair of math and computer science, said students will work hard to develop a safe and convenient alternative.
“Our students are up to the task, ready to take on technical and operational challenges,” Liles said. “Throughout their STEM education, we have focused on hands-on, problem-based learning. This real-world challenge provides them with a wonderful opportunity for growth, and we are grateful for the opportunity this partnership affords.
The partnership is part of the Capstone Program, SRMC’s educational outreach that introduces various SRS operations to students, helping them develop real-world skills while developing potential employees to support the work of SRS. The STEM project started with the fall semester and continues until May 2023.
Contact Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.