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Bechtel engineer named Tri-Cities Engineer of the Year

Tue, March 5, 2013

Todd A. Nelson, Bechtel National, Inc., Waste Treatment Plant Communications

(509) 371-2121

(509) 430-6188

RICHLAND, Wash. — March 5, 2013 — Bechtel engineer John Olson was named 2012 Tri-Cities Engineer of the Year as part of National Engineers' Week. Olson was recognized for his significant technical contributions to the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant and his active involvement in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers at the local and national levels. He received the annual award at the annual Tri-Cities Engineers' Week banquet coordinated by Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Olson is a deputy technical manager at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. When operational, the Vit Plant will be used to turn Hanford's liquid radioactive waste into a stable, solid glass form using a process called vitrification. Olson is responsible for executing the engineering associated with pulse jet mixing, one of the most complex technical questions facing Vit Plant engineers.

"John exemplifies Bechtel's commitment to designing and building a plant that will safely and effectively treat Hanford’s waste, and we are proud to have him as a part of our team," said Frank Russo, Bechtel's project director for the Vit Plant. "John's recognition as Engineer of the Year is well deserved."

Olson is a Nuclear Engineering Division National Vice Chair for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and serves on the Columbia Valley Chapter executive board. He has worked on the Vit Plant since 2001.

All Tri-Cities area engineers are eligible for the Tri-Cities Engineer of the Year award and can be nominated by their professional societies or three fellow engineers. Nominees are judged in three areas of contribution: technical, professional and community by a committee appointed by the Tri-Cities Engineers Week Coalition and Washington State University Tri-Cities.


Bechtel National Inc. is designing and building the world’s largest radioactive waste treatment plant for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state. The Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, will immobilize the radioactive liquid waste stored in 177 underground tanks using a process called vitrification.

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