Contact: Suzanne Heaston, Bechtel National, Inc., Waste Treatment Plant Communications
(509) 539-7765 cell
Richland, Wash. — Today, crews at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) lifted a massive door liner into place in the High-Level Waste (HLW) Vitrification Facility, demonstrating continued progress at the Vit Plant.
This is a significant accomplishment for the HLW Facility and the Vit Plant as a whole,” Ty Troutman, area project manager for the HLW Facility, said. “Placing this liner supports completion of the filter cave, which is one of the most complex areas in the HLW Facility.” The liner, which is approximately 30 feet long and 11 feet tall, must be in place for construction to continue above and around it.
The liner was fabricated by Premier Technology Inc., in Blackfoot, Idaho. It comprises a steel liner, four inches thick and weighing approximately 56,000 pounds, as well as approximately 25,000 pounds of installed rebar and another 8,000 pounds of support materials. The total weight is approximately 85,000 pounds (more than 42 tons), the equivalent of nearly 18 half-ton-capacity pickup trucks. Ironworkers have been working to install the rebar and rig the liner since late April.
“Because this assembly is so large and such an odd shape, it has been challenging and has required careful planning,” Troutman said. “In addition, the rebar, which protrudes from both the assembly and the slab where the liner was placed, made it an extremely intricate placement.”
The assembly will hold two shield doors to the HLW filter cave, one that will move vertically and one that will move horizontally. When operational, the filter cave will be used to remotely handle contaminated air filters and will be inaccessible by humans. The shield doors will provide access to an adjacent maintenance room.
When operational, the HLW Facility, one of four main nuclear facilities at WTP, will process high-level waste that is transferred via underground pipes from the Pretreatment Facility. The waste will be mixed with glass-forming materials in two 90-ton melters, heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit and poured into stainless steel canisters. When complete, the HLW Facility will be one football field long, three football fields wide and six stories high.
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 $12.2 billion Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), also known as the Vit Plant, will immobilize the radioactive liquid waste currently stored in 177 underground tanks.
The WTP will cover 65 acres with four nuclear facilities—Pretreatment, Low-Activity Waste Vitrification, High-Level Waste Vitrification and Analytical Laboratory—as well as operations and maintenance buildings, utilities and office space.
Construction of the WTP began in 2002. The plant will be operational in 2019.