One of the important ways we contribute to sustainability beyond the project is by sharing safety and environmental practices with our customers, partners, suppliers, and communities everywhere we operate.
Protecting People and the Environment
Project safety is public safety
Whether delivering a project in a densely populated city or on a remote island, the line between project and public safety is often blurred. Our strong safety record is a result of our unwavering commitment to prevent incidents on every job site and of our proactive engagement with local authorities, communities, and businesses to advance existing public-safety systems.
Building local capabilities to promote safety not only helps us achieve our goal of zero incidents, it’s also an important enabler of private-sector development and social progress in the countries and communities where we operate.
Charting a new course for marine safety in Gladstone, Australia
Safely transporting thousands of tons of construction materials and equipment, plus more than 11,000 employees, through a small Australian city’s busy harbor required creative thinking by our colleagues working on the country’s largest concentration of natural gas projects.
Working with Maritime Safety Queensland and Gladstone Ports Corporation, we established a single standard of safety along with a new training program for all marine operators in the area. Although the Gladstone port experienced an upsurge in ship movement, from around 3,500 per year to 35,000 per month at the height of the projects’ construction, there have been no LNG construction-related harbor incidents, and the ratio of nautical miles to incidents has dropped by a factor of three.
Designing for sustainability at Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia
We are developing the Riyadh Metro for long-term sustainability. Bechtel is leading a consortium to build the Olaya and King Abdullah Financial District stations. Working with the High Commission for the Development of ArRiyadh and our partners, both stations are being designed to achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The stations will have various sustainable attributes, including HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) efficiencies, technologies, and fixtures that conserve energy and water. They will also take advantage of the Riyadh climate to generate electricity from solar energy.
Soaring to new heights at Gatwick Airport
At the United Kingdom’s second-busiest airport, we are using our Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology to expand Gatwick sustainably. Calculating efficiencies from renewable energy, water retention, and mechanical configurations for some 30 airport buildings, two terminals, and six piers, we project $26 million in savings during its 30-year whole-life cost.
Reducing emissions at the Kitimat Modernization project in British Columbia
In Kitimat, we are modernizing a 60-year-old aluminum smelter to create an environmentally superior, safer, and more productive operation. The improvements will reduce the smelter’s overall carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent and increase aluminum production capacity by approximately 40 percent, or 400,000 tons, per year.
Protecting Alberta’s ecosystem
The ATCO Electric Eastern Alberta Transmission Line in Alberta, Canada, is a 500-kilovolt power transmission project that stretches for 301 miles (485 kilometers) and is located within the Prairie Pothole Region, a critical habitat in North America. Using Geographic Information System technology, we created a series of 3,960 maps and updates to delineate the buffer zones that were then used to plan and schedule the construction work and protect sensitive species habitats, such as the nests of the black tern and ferruginous hawk.
Setting new standards at Crossrail in the UK
With more than 250 machines spread across nearly 40 construction sites, Bechtel and Crossrail achieved an 85 percent reduction in particulate emissions on Europe’s largest construction project.
Through a combination of new engine performance standards, retrofitting of particulate controls, hybrid technologies, and training, the project has significantly reduced particulate emissions. Moreover, Crossrail was recognized as the first infrastructure project in the United Kingdom to adopt strict emissions controls across all of its work sites. It has also introduced newer, cleaner machines across London and encouraged suppliers to upgrade their equipment. The success of this program on Crossrail has helped to support the Greater London Authority’s intent for a wider-scale introduction of these controls.
- Bechtel and Crossrail achieved an
- reduction in particulate emissions on Europe’s largest construction project.
30 years of experience. 500 projects. Bechtel leads the way in nuclear security and environmental work.
For almost half a century, the nuclear-arms race generated massive quantities of hazardous radioactive waste. Left behind are unprecedented environmental challenges that threaten natural resources, public health and safety, and sustainability for all generations.
Tackling nuclear waste at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant in Washington
During World War II and throughout the Cold War, the Hanford site housed a vast complex of nuclear reactors and processing facilities that produced plutonium for atomic weapons. The site was decommissioned in 1987, as the Cold War wound down, but the site’s nuclear and chemical excess remains a legacy. Today, 177 aging underground tanks holding 56 million gallons (212 million liters) of nuclear and chemical waste endanger the Columbia River, the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and the country’s fourth-largest river, stretching for more than 1,200 miles (around 2,000 kilometers) to the Pacific.
The U.S. Department of Energy approached Bechtel with this environmental challenge. We are designing and building the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, where a first-of-a-kind vitrification process will blend radioactive waste with glass-forming materials and heat it to 2,100°F (1,149°C). The molten material will be poured into stainless steel containers to cool and solidify in a glass, or vitrified, form and then stored in stainless steel canisters for permanent disposal at a federal repository. Through this technology, the waste can remain stable so that its radioactivity can safely dissipate over time.
Also at Hanford, we safely and securely removed a 1,082-ton Plutonium Recycle Test Reactor and a 1,153-ton waste vault as part of our work to protect the river corridor. The reactor was once used to recycle plutonium, and the vault held two 15,000-gallon (56,800-liter) stainless steel tanks to collect highly contaminated waste. The removal of these nuclear structures—roughly equal to the weight of six fully packed Boeing 747 airplanes—brings us one step closer to completing site cleanup.
Not only do we exceed the United States and other government requirements for sustainability, we are spearheading the safe and efficient treatment and disposal of some of the most complex and dangerous materials on the planet. This not only requires strict protocols to protect workers and the environment, but close cooperation with local communities to ensure that their best interests are at heart.Laureen Smith
Manager of Environmental Services,
Nuclear, Security & Environment, Bechtel
Accelerating the nuclear cleanup at Savannah River in Georgia
Five decades of nuclear materials, including plutonium and tritium, produced for use in U.S. weapons created nearly 37 million gallons (140 million liters) of liquid radioactive waste. That waste is stored in underground steel tanks along the Savannah River, which stretches for 314 miles (505 kilometers) to the Atlantic and borders the U.S. states of Georgia and South Carolina.
Bechtel is part of the team, contracted by the U.S. DOE, operating the Savannah River Remediation liquid waste complex and remediating radioactive and hazardous underground waste tanks. This critical work follows our prior experience at this site, which began with designing and building the Defense Waste Processing Facility, the world’s largest high-level vitrification plant, and the Tritium Extraction Facility, the nation’s only operation for extracting, recycling, and purifying tritium.
To date, we have closed more than 300 of the site’s 515 waste areas, and we are accelerating the cleanup life cycle by 13 years, which will save the agency more than $450 million. We also implemented more than 100 new environmental restoration technologies to treat and remediate contaminated groundwater and soil.