To expedite removal of a key radioactive threat close to the Columbia River, the U.S. Energy Dept. hopes to dismantle a long-dormant nuclear reactor at the Hanford nuclear-waste site in Washington state with robotic technology instead of “cocooning” the structure for long-term storage, as has been done with five similar structures at the site. The multistory, 50,000-sq-ft K-East Reactor, which houses 240,000 graphite blocks that make up the reactor core, is a special case because of soil contamination around and under the structure, says Tom Teynor, DOE project director for the reactor. The agency and its contractors are testing new
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.