Vit Plant Project Director Valerie McCain proudly hosted Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers on August 13 and showed off the tremendous progress that has been made possible by the entire Vit Plant team.
Hanford Site Manager Brian Vance and Vit Plant Federal Project Director Tom Fletcher walked through the Effluent Management Facility, showed off progress in the Analytical Laboratory, and took them into the LAW control room where they demonstrated the remote operation of the mechanical handling system.
Chemists make final move into Analytical Laboratory
The Vit Plant team continues to make steady progress toward completion. Recently, a team of chemists and lab technicians has moved into its permanent home in the Analytical Laboratory (Lab).
Over the past two years, the scientific team developed training and procedures and verified laboratory equipment performance while working from a temporary offsite laboratory at Columbia Basin College (CBC) in Pasco. In parallel, startup testing of systems in the Lab was completed to allow the team to transition to the site.
The Lab's key function is to determine the correct "recipe" of glass-forming materials for each incoming batch of tank waste, and then to confirm the glass produced by the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility meets state and federal regulatory requirements. Rigorous processes, procedures and training developed by the team will ensure the vitrified waste is safe for long-term storage.
Final class of technicians start training for Vit Plant operations
Training kicked off at the beginning of August for the final class of commissioning technicians who will prepare the Vit Plant for round-the-clock operations in the next few years.
The in-depth classroom and on-the-job training program is preparing the final class of 27 new commissioning workers to bring more than 200 separate systems online in two main facilities, including 14 support facilities and the LAW Facility. At the end of the five-month training program, a total of approximately 140 commissioning technicians will be readying the plant for round-the-clock operations to treat a large volume of Hanford’s waste.
The Vit Plant team began hiring technicians in 2016 to prepare, or commission, the plant to start treating tank waste in the next few years. Workers are observing COVID-19 safety protocols while training at a 17,000-square-foot building that contains a full-scale, fully functional replica of the LAW Facility control room, where they will eventually work. In early 2019, the plant began 24/7 commissioning shift work, as the control room is already operational and staffed by qualified commissioning technicians.
Vit Plant sponsors community service "matchmaker" website
Matching local nonprofits with volunteers is easy using the Volunteer Tri-Cities website. The website, sponsored by the Vit Plant team -- Bechtel National, Inc., and Amentum at WTP -- is a free, community-wide platform where nonprofits post their needs – donations of supplies, volunteers to deliver meals, help with physical repairs – and then volunteers can search for ways to help based on their interests, capabilities, and availability. It was launched this spring and has proved invaluable in recent months when more community members have been in need. Visit the website at Volunteer Tri-Cities.
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Featured video: Paving the way to completion
The Vit Plant's Island Completion Team (ICT) and Inland Asphalt Paving, A CRH Company have continued paving areas of the jobsite since the team's phased return to the site in June.