Fluor Corp., the Irvine-based engineering firm, said its Fluor Technology Inc. unit has received a $5-million contract from the Department of Energy for work on a radioactive waste preparation facility in Richland, Wash.
A spokesman for the company said Fluor Technology will perform architect-engineering services based on the government's conceptual design for the plant, which will be used to fuse radioactive waste material into a special glass. He said the glass is very dense, "like black peanut brittle," and is sealed into stainless steel containers and put into natural salt repositories.
"What is attractive about this is that the glass lasts forever; it keeps the radiation from seeping out," the spokesman said.
He said that the design is only one of a number of waste disposal alternatives the government is considering for the plant. If Congress approves funds for the vitrification plant, Fluor will continue to work on the definitive design and will also provide engineering and inspection services during its construction. The value of the contract could then rise to $127 million.
The spokesman said that the initial phase of the project should be completed by this summer and that the government will choose the best waste disposal method sometime in the early 1990s. The entire project is scheduled for completion in March, 1995.