Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Chlorofluorocarbon Phase-Out
Although the Montreal Protocol required chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to be phased-out of production by the year 2000, President Bush accelerated the requirement to December 31, 1995. Facilities across the Nation, including Oak Ridge’s Y-12 Plant, needed to find suitable alternatives for chillers and other CFC uses. To meet these requirements, Y-12 proactively involved all levels of personnel in the decision-making process and established a plan for transition.
Previously, Y-12 had no monitoring program for leaks in its chiller systems nor used any stringent recycling parameters. In addition, no restrictions governed the purchasing or use of CFCs throughout the plant.
To initiate a transition, Y-12 started a training program involving CFC awareness; proper handling; recycle and recovery procedures; leak management; and alternative refrigerants. In addition, Y-12 established several CFC policies to define employee responsibility. CFC purchases were funneled through a central location where accurate inventories could be maintained. The employees maintained an assertive involvement in the CFC efforts through training, policy, and certification programs.
Y-12 also developed a long-term Stratospheric Ozone Protection Plan. This plan addressed retrofitting activities that reduced air emissions of CFCs, such as installing high-efficiency purge units on low-pressure chillers, eliminating all chillers on-site that operated on five gallons or less of CFCs, using portable refrigerant recyclers, and installing pressurization units on low-pressure chillers for leak detection. In addition, the plan included a large stock-piling effort which provided CFCs for use in chillers after the production ban went into effect.
Y-12 attributes its success in reducing CFC emissions to an aggressive conservation and recycling program which complies with Title VI of the Clean Air Act. In 1995, the plant reduced its CFC emission levels by 92% and its usage of solvents containing CFCs by 98%, compared to its 1992 figures. This program has won several awards and national recognition including the EPA’s Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award in 1993, The White House’s Closing the Circle Award in 1994, and Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pollution Prevention Award in 1994.
The Y-12 Plant has consistently been a leader in CFC conservation and emissions reduction. In addition, Y-12 provides technical assistance to other DOE facilities and private-sector plants.
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