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PCD is PCB Free

Recently, SLAC took yet another step toward becoming a greener and safer laboratory.

When SLAC was first built in the 1960s, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used in enclosed electrical components. At the time of construction, the health risks of PCBs were not generally known and the synthetic chemical compound was used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Since the mid-1970s, toxicology evidence showed that PCBs can accumulate in the environment and can cause harmful effects (see a Department of Health and Human Services summary).

PCBs around SLAC are contained in enclosed components, reducing the risk of exposure and harmful effects. The Power Conversion Department (PCD) and the Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) Division recently made further significant progress in removing many of these components to further ensure the safety of lab staff who might have to interact with them directly.

The project, which was initiated by ES&H's Mike Hug and coordinated by PCD's Jim Craft, completed removing the last of the PCBs from the Klystron Modulators in the klystron gallery last October. As a result, the PCD is now PCB free.

“It pleases us all that we were able to make the klystron gallery, which is an inherently hazardous area, even safer,” said Craft.

To do this, the Power Conversion Department’s Power Electronics Maintenance (PEM) group under the management and supervision of Craft, Serge Ratkovsky and Lou Fernandez removed all klystron-modulator AC input filters containing PCBs—492 of them in all—during this year's shutdown. These old filters, which were about the size of a soda can, were replaced with modern, non-PCB units.

“We had replaced a few of these filters over the years as they malfunctioned,” said Craft. “But this year with the support of Mike and the ES&H team, we made a concerted and successful effort to replace them all.”

After the PCB components were removed, ES&H's Yoli Pilastro and the Hazardous Waste Management group properly disposed of them. Many thanks to all involved.

SLAC Today, January 22, 2008