Bechtel awards $37.8M in contracts for containers, spare melter
Bechtel National, Inc., has awarded contracts valued at nearly $37.8 million to Petersen, Inc., to supply engineered stainless-steel containers and a spare melter for the Vit Plant. These containers will hold the first-ever vitrified waste from Hanford for safe long-term storage.
The engineered 7-foot tall, 4-foot wide containers will be filled with molten glass containing simulated and real radioactive waste during the Vit Plant’s commissioning phase, and the spare melter will be on standby for when the current melters reach their end of lifespan.
During plant operations the Low-Activity Waste Facility will treat about 1.75 million gallons of tank waste per year.
Laboratory commissioning advances with first test package
Workers inspect the gas storage distribution system tanks at the Analytical Laboratory.
The first commissioning test package was recently approved for the Analytical Laboratory, marking a significant step in the ongoing project transition from startup to commissioning.
Test packages define the steps, work controls, tools and equipment, materials, and hazard control requirements project employees will use when performing tests. This test package is the first of four to be used to complete commissioning testing of the Analytical Laboratory's gas storage distribution systems, which provide gases such as argon and nitrogen to equipment inside the facility.
Commissioning test packages are developed in advance of the completion of startup testing so when enough systems are handed over, commissioning is ready to begin.
Bechtel participated in the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce 2nd Annual Diversity Summit to engage with small business owners about opportunities to work with the Vit Plant.
The Vit Plant team surpassed its annual goals for total procurement spending with small businesses and in all small business demographics in fiscal year 2019. The efforts were highlighted in a recent article in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Newsletter.
Bechtel National Inc. awarded $145 million in contracts to small and large businesses in FY19. Of those dollars, small businesses accounted for $62.48 million, or 43 percent, exceeding the project goal of 40.4 percent.
The team exceeded all six subcategory goals, which include small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and others.
Nearly $67 million, or 62.5 percent, was spent in Washington and Oregon, with about $39 million of that remaining in the Tri-Cities.
Vit Plant welcomes chemists in Analytical Laboratory
Vit Plant chemists work with scientific instruments inside the Analytical Laboratory.
Read coverage from Engineering News-Record on recent progress at the Analytical Laboratory as the first team of chemists moves in. The chemists will perform the first scientific work taking place inside the Lab to support starting the treatment of Hanford tank waste by the end of 2023. The article is available on the ENR website.
Girl Day 2020 a success thanks to Vit Plant volunteers
More than 100 students enjoyed hands-on STEM activities at the 3rd Annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering event. Several Vit Plant employees were on hand at the Bechtel-sponsored event to assist and interact with the girls as part of Girl Day 2020. Attendees participated in nearly a dozen activities, including manipulating pocket-sized coding robots called Ozobots and tests to see how many coins a makeshift boat of aluminum foil could hold.
Bechtel sponsors Women in Business Conference
Bechtel at the Vit Plant was proud to continue its support for the community as a sponsor of the Tri-Cities Women in Business Conference again in 2020. The annual event brings together female leaders in every season of life to share insights, exchange ideas and empower their careers. It is Eastern Washington’s largest career and professional development event for women.
Taking the plunge for Special Olympics
Members of the Vit Plant team took an icy plunge into the Columbia River to support Special Olympics of Washington at the 2020 Polar Plunge. Project Director Valerie McCain issued a challenge to employees to raise $10,000 with the promise that she would join the jumping team, and they responded with more than $25,000 in donations to become the top fundraising team for the Tri-Cities! The donations helped the Special Olympics raise more than $110,000 – well beyond its goal of $80,000.
Bikes for Tikes campaign thrives thanks to Vit Plant partnership
Bechtel at the Vit Plant is proud of its partnership with the UA Local Union 598 Plumbers and Steamfitters Bikes for Tikes campaign. Our $2,500 donation this past December helped with the purchase of 2,000 bikes for children in the Tri-Cities at Christmas. In this photo, WTCC General Manager Rick Holmes (second from right) presents a check to Bikes for Tikes board members (L-R) Dan Richey, Tina Clouson, Randy Walli, and Brad Chitty.
In The Details
By the numbers: Analytical Laboratory's specialty HEPA filters
The Analytical Laboratory contains HEPA filters that weigh 72 pounds each and are used in multiple banks of four filters, called housings. The Lab holds 34 housings and 136 filters. The circular shape of the filter traps contaminants better than previous designs and is relatively new to the nuclear industry. The filters are at least five times stronger than standard HEPA filters and exceed Vit Plant-specific standards and codes.
Did you know? Robots in the Low-Activity Waste Facility
Two types of specialized robots will be featured in the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility to help turn nuclear waste into stable glass logs. The LAW will feature both autonomous and nonautonomous robots (known as manipulators) to perform various tasks during the vitrification process.
Autonomous robots are programmed to do a specific job. There will be two in the LAW to perform container swabbing.
Manipulators require an operator to control its actions. Vit Plant operators will use about 22 manipulators in the LAW to perform maintenance and change-out of equipment, as well as size reduction of plant equipment destined for disposal.
Featured photo: First steam produced by steam plant
The first steam is vented through the sky valve to signify startup testing and boiler operation are in process at the Vit Plant’s steam plant building. The steam plant will provide the steam necessary for plant-wide process and facility heating. Once completed and operational, the amount of steam produced by the steam plant could heat 3,300 houses.