The Experimental Breeder Reactor - II (EBR-II) at Argonne National Laboratory - West (ANL-W) was shutdown in September 1994 as mandated by the United States Department of Energy. Located in eastern Idaho, this sodium-cooled reactor had been in service since 1964, and was a test facility for fuels development, materials irradiation, system and control theory tests, and hardware development. The EBR-II termination activities began in October 1994, with the reactor being maintained in an industrially and radiologically safe condition for decommissioning. With the shutdown of EBR-II, its sodium coolant became a waste necessitating its reaction to a disposal form. A Sodium Process Facility (SPF), designed to convert sodium to 50 wt% sodium hydroxide, existed at the ANL-W site, but had never been operated. The SPF was upgraded to current standards and codes, and then modified in 1998 to convert the sodium to 70 wt% sodium hydroxide, a substance that solidifies at 65°C (150°F) and is acceptable for burial as low level radioactive waste in Idaho. In December 1998, the SPF began operations. Working with sodium and highly concentrated sodium hydroxide presented some unique operating and maintenance conditions. Several lessons were learned throughout the operating period. Processing of the 330 m3 (87,000 gallons) of EBR-II primary sodium, 50 m3 (13,000 gallons) of EBR-II secondary sodium, and 290 m3 (77,000 gallons) of Fermi-1 primary sodium was successfully completed in March 2001, ahead of schedule and within budget.

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