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F Area Operations

The current mission of this project is to provide long-term surveillance for F Canyon, FB Line and 235-F, also known as the F Area Materials Storage (FAMS) facility. All three facilities were once components of one of the site’s chemical processing areas. FAMS was most recently used for nuclear materials management and storage, although all stored materials have now been shipped to another facility at SRS.

FB Line is completely deactivated and requires periodic entries for surveillance. A portion of F Canyon is being used for Transuranic Waste Remediation.

F Canyon is located in F Area, one of two chemical separations areas at SRS. The facility’s production mission was completed in March 2002, when the last remaining identified legacy material was stabilized. Deactivation of most systems was completed in August 2006. Deactivation of additional systems is underway.

An FB Line employee works with part of the outer can welder process
An FB Line employee works with part of the outer can welder process.

All three facilities were built in the 1950s. Historically, F Canyon operations recovered plutonium-239 (Pu-239) and uranium-238 (U-238) by a chemical separation process after dissolving aluminum-based irradiated fuel slugs or rods from the site’s production reactors and other test and research reactors.


Preparing for a glovebag installation.
Preparing for a glovebag installation.

Pu-239 was produced to support the nuclear weapons stockpile. Depleted U-238, in an oxide (solid) form, was recovered as a by-product. The Depleted Uranium Oxide is being packaged for final disposal. No new production of plutonium is needed because of the reduction in the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

FB Line, located on top of F Canyon at SRS, was constructed in the early 1960s to receive plutonium-239 nitrate solution produced in F Canyon and convert it to a solid form. This process continued until March 2002, when all scheduled operations to stabilize plutonium-bearing materials from the SRS production era was completed successfully and ahead of schedule. Complete de-inventory of FB Line occurred in February 2005 and final deactivation in June 2006.

FAMS is located near the rear of F Area. It is a two-story, 50,000-square-foot process building that was originally built as a plutonium-239 processing facility, although it was never used for that purpose. In its history, it has processed neptunium targets for irradiation in the site's reactors for plutonium-238 production and researched and fabricated encapsulated plutonium-238 for NASA space missions. Its research mission ended in the 1980s.


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