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Savannah River Site’s H Canyon Turns 60 Years Old

The H Canyon Facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS) recently celebrated 60 years of service to the United States; first in producing nuclear materials in support of our nation’s defense weapons programs and later, after the Cold War, helping to disposition and stabilize nuclear materials and spent nuclear fuel from legacy cleanup, and both foreign and domestic research reactors.

"H Canyon has served our nation well for 60 years and today it remains the only operating production-scale shielded chemical separations facility in the country,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Thanks to the hard work, creativity, and dedication of the men and women operating at H Canyon, the facility has stood the test of time as a national asset for large scale nuclear materials processing. It is a global asset for nuclear nonproliferation cooperation. The Department commends the H Canyon community for the essential work they are doing to strengthen our national security, nonproliferation efforts, and the safe disposition of nuclear material."

Speaking at a recent luncheon celebration for H Canyon employees and supporters, U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson said, “For 60 years, the Canyon has supported this country’s nuclear material needs….During the Cold War, it was involved with nuclear material production, significantly contributing to a victory for democracy. Today, H Canyon proves that it is a great asset to our nation by helping to keep nuclear materials in a safe and secure location, and I am grateful for their dedicated, capable employees.”
Two recent key milestones were also celebrated; resumption of the HB Line mission to prepare surplus plutonium for disposition, and readiness to begin the Second Uranium Cycle, to start processing spent nuclear fuel.

H Canyon is also being used as a Test Bed for new technologies in the spent nuclear material field. Initially started for safeguards and nonproliferation purposes, the purpose of the test bed has been expanded to include special nuclear material accountability, environmental monitoring and compliance, and improved process control.

For more on H Canyon’s history and operations, see