The waste in the tanks on the Hanford Site is extraordinarily complex. The materials consist of liquids, gases, semi-solids and solids. In addition to water-like liquids, the tanks contain saltcake, a material with the consistency of wet beach sand and sludges. Also inside are wastes resembling peanut butter, small broken icebergs, foam and whitish crystals. Each of these materials contain varying amounts of toxicity and radiation. Adding to the complexity, the exact amounts and composition of each type of waste is still largely unknown.
This extraordinary challenge requires an extraordinary solution. That’s where the Vit Plant comes in. This first-of-a-kind plant is designed to address all the challenges presented by the tank waste. Since some of the details are still unknown, the Vit Plant is a work in progress; even as construction is taking place, new details about the waste are revealed, meaning the Vit Plant design must also adapt.