Westinghouse - Bureau of Air Quality

Air Permit #1900-0050

Westinghouse is permitted to operate a nuclear fuel assembly fabrication facility in compliance with state and federal air quality regulations. Operations include chemical conversion of uranium hexafluoride to uranium dioxide, pellet formation, material recovery operations, and mechanical component manufacturing.  Westinghouse submitted a request to renew their State Operating Permit. Westinghouse was allowed to continue operating under the conditions of the expired operating permit until such time as the renewal request was acted upon. 

Although renewal of their operating permit does not require a public notice or public comment period, DHEC provided both prior to making a final permit decision. Public notices were issued on September 12, 2019, and May 5, 2023, and public comment periods were open from September 12, 2019, through October 11, 2019, and May 5, 2023, through June 18, 2023. Moreover, public meetings were held on September 26, 2019, and June 6, 2023, and a public hearing was conducted on June 6, 2023.

All comments received were reviewed for technical merit and have been included in DHEC’s permanent record for this facility. DHEC’s decision is to approve the renewal of the operating permit. 

Process Exemption 

Westinghouse notified the Bureau of Air Quality, by correspondence received July 21, 2022, that it intends to process 522 drums containing Wet Combustible Material (WCM) waste contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including tetrachloroethylene (TCE). The WCM will be treated using a Heated Vacuum Extraction (HVE) method meeting the conditional exemption under 40 CFR 266.100(d)(2), over the course of approximately twelve months. The WCM would then be processed to extract residual uranium from the resulting ash.

The HVE method was tested on the WCM by Westinghouse and their consultant, GEL Engineering LLC. The results demonstrate that the method successfully removes VOCs from the waste to concentrations below regulatory limits. The extracted VOCs are condensed as liquid waste, which will be disposed of appropriately according to the SCHWMR. The calculated total amount of VOCs, including TCE, emitted to the atmosphere when the 522 drums of WCM are processed are below the regulatory thresholds that would require an air quality construction permit or an ambient air quality compliance demonstration.

DHEC concurs, after reviewing the test results and accompanying information, that the HVE processing and incineration of the processed WCM will not require an air quality construction permit or an ambient air quality compliance demonstration, in accordance with S.C. Regulation 61-62.1, Section II(B).