MOX looks to repurpose lumber for school material

Submitted photo Wood products such as temporary stairways and walkways are used during construction of the MOX facility. When they are no longer needed, these items are being donated to area schools as classroom materials for carpentry training programs.

It's not just nuclear weapons that the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility is recycling for an alternate purpose. The facility – more accurately, those who are building it – are making an effort to repurpose lumber that otherwise would be chucked into a landfill.

Scrap lumber from construction of the MOX facility will be reused as classroom materials for students in carpentry training programs at area schools in South Carolina and Georgia.

Shaw AREVA MOX Services, which is building the facility at the Savannah River Site, is donating the lumber and transporting it to several education centers weekly.

“This is a partnership that benefits everyone – area schools, the environment and the MOX project,” said Kelly Trice, president and chief operating officer of Shaw AREVA MOX Services. “The excess wood from our construction site will be reused to train future carpenters while saving us disposal costs. We are continuously seeking every opportunity to save costs and positively impact our environment and our community.”

By recycling the wood, the MOX project could save as much as $50,000 annually in disposal costs and more than 136,000 cubic feet of space in a landfill.

The contractor collaborated with Rick McLeod, executive director of the SRS Community Reuse Organization, to launch the wood donation program.

“We identified some sources we thought would be interested, and (the MOX team) moved beyond that,” McLeod said.

Through contacts within the Nuclear Workforce Initiative, the SRSCRO contacted regional career centers to see if they had ongoing carpentry programs which could use the materials.

The materials make a good fit for the programs, McLeod explained. The scrap materials include crates on which the class members can learn to use hammers and crowbars to break down the materials. Then the lumber itself can be used.

The scrap lumber and wood products generated from the MOX construction site include temporary stairways and walkways that are no longer needed, dismantled forms from concrete pours and wooden crates used to ship equipment and components to the project.

Shaw AREVA MOX Services is a member of the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program which recognizes facilities for development and implementation of an outstanding environmental management system that includes waste reduction.

The MOX project is donating the materials to educational facilities that include Barnwell County Career Center in Blackwell, Denmark Technical College in Denmark, Strom Thurmond Career Center in Johnston, Aiken High School, Midland Valley High School in Graniteville, Allendale-Fairfax High School in Allendale, Wagener-Salley High School in Wagener, Jefferson County High School in Louisville, Ga., Harlem High School in Harlem, Ga., Evans High School in Evans, Ga., and Burke County High School in Waynesboro, Ga.