Tunnel Project Wins 2018 Project of the Year Award


Mark Malloy, President of Intermech, (second from the right) stands with other members of the team that works on the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX) Tunnel 1 Project

Intermech, Inc., was part of the team that worked on the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX) Tunnel 1 Project. The project won Project Management Institute Columbia River Basin Chapter 2018 Project of the Year award for outstanding planning and work.

On May 9, 2017, a tunnel at the Purex facility in Hanford, WA, collapsed. In response, to structurally stabilize the entire tunnel by the end of 2017, the Tunnel 1 Emergency Action Stabilization Project was established.  

As part of this fast-tracked emergency response, CHPRC subcontracted Intermech to construct a grouting operation mock-up and prepare the Tunnel 1 project site for the execution of grouting activities. Intermech fabricated a full-scale mock-up at their Richland facility, which was then used to finalize the design of grout placement connection details, grout installation means and methods, and grout material characteristics.

Simultaneously, Intermech completed multiple PUREX site improvements to support the mobilization of heavy equipment, including the remote removal of all but the three feet of tunnel overburden to facilitate access to the breech. Intermech also fabricated the passive ventilation system and grout injection apparatus.

A total of 521 truckloads (4,434 cubic yards) of grout were placed in PUREX Tunnel 1. The grout was placed in several lifts, or layers, and each lift was allowed to set up before the next lift began. Cameras placed into the tunnel by Intermech provided assurances that the grout flowed the entire length of the tunnel and around the contaminated equipment on the rail cars. Stabilization of Purex Tunnel 1 was completed on Nov. 11, 2017, over a month ahead of the scheduled completion date of Dec. 31, 2017.