Decommissioning resumes at Navajo Generating Station
After four-month suspension, workers return to plant for dismantlement
PAGE, Ariz. — The Navajo Generating Station decommissioning is now ramping up following a suspension of work because of the coronavirus.
Within one to two weeks, an estimated 100 more workers are expected to arrive to help with the decommissioning.
The project resumed in mid-July with the demolition of the Unit 3 Absorber pump house and the 10-story-high Limestone Prep Conveyor.
Independence Excavating of Independence, Ohio, the contractor in charge of the NGS demolition job, calculated how to bring the conveyor down through an engineering analysis. The contractor told the work crew what cable size was needed, where to place them at the foot of the conveyor, and how the conveyor would fall. Once the cables were connected from an excavator, the Limestone Prep Building fell to the ground within seconds.
Prior to halting decommissioning because of COVID-19, the first structure brought down was the Limestone Handling Building on the south side of the NGS plant site.
Last week, Independence Excavating finished demolition of the NGS Absorber Maintenance Holding Tanks. Like the Limestone Handling Building, Limestone Conveyor and Limestone Prep Building, these were part of the sulfur dioxide scrubber equipment. Limestone was crushed to a powder and mixed with water. The limestone slurry was then sprayed through flue gas to remove more than 95 percent of SO2 from emissions.
Before NGS stopped making electricity on November 18, 2019, work began to dismantle and remove the enormous transformers along the west side of the power block.
These sent NGS’s electricity to the switchyard and from there to the grid. This week, the remaining Unit 1 transformers will be removed and shipped to salvage.
Meanwhile, SRP Investment Recovery is in the process of selling and shipping NGS tools, supplies and scrap. In coming weeks, the colossal rows of tall, heavy shelving in the NGS warehouse will be dismantled, packed and shipped to its new owner.
Environmental work by Clean Harbors, Inc., of Norwell, Massachusetts, continues with asbestos abatement and fluids removal.
All contractors receive a full safety orientation that now includes COVID-19 protection protocols. In addition to wearing personal protection equipment such as a hardhat, safety glasses and a reflective safety vest everywhere on site, requirements now include wearing a face mask, maintaining six feet of space between individuals, no more than two individuals in a vehicle and frequent hand washing whenever workers are on site.