Earth Day is Every Day

April 20, 2015 by Jeff Baird

As a premier global supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies, Westinghouse is no stranger to being a trusted leader when it comes to clean energy. The importance of what we do to contribute to nuclear power as a clean, baseload energy source is clear to us and is a point of pride. But the end product is only part of the equation.

Continually improving our manufacturing processes to preserve our Earth and support Westinghouse’s sustainability goals overall is always at the forefront of our decisions. We are committed to managing our ecological footprint every day at our many and varied manufacturing facilities.

Nuclear fuel is one of the many components we design and manufacture at some of these facilities, including at our Western Zirconium Plant outside Ogden, Utah (USA), where we produce zirconium, hafnium and zirconium alloys in our manufacturing processes.

We have several byproducts and semi-finished goods that result from our manufacturing processes that we cannot use further in our manufacturing operations. We manage our byproducts to meet or exceed industry standards and incorporate efforts to reduce waste and optimize value. These byproducts and semi-finished goods can be viable products for other businesses; and we are redirecting them, or are working to do so, through sales or recycling for other industrial applications.

Redirecting byproducts and semi-finished goods to industries that can use them saves landfill space while reducing production costs for other industries – all while Westinghouse is turning what otherwise would be waste into value-added products.

Western Zirconium is one of many Westinghouse manufacturing sites around the world. The Westinghouse Intermediate Products Team is actively working across these sites to identify additional opportunities to further reduce our overall environmental footprint. For example, the Westinghouse Specialty Metals Plant in Blairsville, Pa. (USA) has identified calcium fluoride as its biggest opportunity for waste-to-landfill reduction. The plant is currently working to optimize operations to reduce overall calcium fluoride production. Our Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility in Columbia, South Carolina (USA) recycles its calcium fluoride for other industrial applications. And, our Springfields site in the United Kingdom sells its hydrofluoric acid for reuse, and recovers ferrous and non-ferrous metals and used machine oils for recycling. Surplus wood is also redirected to energy generation.

We are sharing our best practices among our Westinghouse manufacturing facilities, and working with each other to find other appropriate reuse or recycling outlets for byproducts and semi-finished goods for overall reduction of waste from our manufacturing operations globally.

Sustainable manufacturing is a win-win for the Earth and for business. Our Western Zirconium Plant is located on 1,100 acres near Ogden, Utah. We look out of our windows every day at the beautiful Wasatch Mountain Range and are reminded of the importance of how we do what we do, and the legacy we want to leave behind.

Jeff Baird

Jeff Baird
Project Manager, Commercial Operations
Western Zirconium Plant
Westinghouse Electric Company