05:11 PM

Heavy lifts move Hanford Vit Plant construction forward

Some recent heavy lifts are helping the effluent management facility (EMF) continue to take shape at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, or Vit Plant.

Workers used a heavy lift crane to safely install the evaporator unit and two structural steel roof modules – each weighing more than 40 tons. The placements were key activities towards completing construction of the final Balance of Facilities (BOF) support building required to deliver the Department of Energy’s (DOE) direct feed low-activity waste vitrification approach.

The evaporator unit is a 45-ton tower that includes the evaporator vessel, associated shielding plate, and steel structural support. The assembled unit measures 45-feet tall and 20-feet wide. The evaporator is the heart of EMF and allows the vitrification plant to operate efficiently by removing excess water while sending the remaining concentrated liquid back into the vitrification process.

“The evaporator unit is the primary EMF capability and bringing the equipment into the building is a significant construction accomplishment for the team,” said Jason Young, DOE Office of River Protection’s BOF federal project director.

The C5 roof module weighs 45 tons, measures 67-foot by 63-foot, and includes more than 500 feet of pre-installed fire protection pipes. The C3 module is 40 tons, 61-feet by 68-feet, and includes more than 600 feet of piping. Workers constructed the roof modules and pre-installed the piping at ground level to enhance safety by reducing the amount of work performed at heights inside the building. Installing the roof modules provides overhead protection for workers and building systems during the winter months.

Like the pipe rack modules, EMF workers pre-fabricated and pre-assembled the evaporator unit and roof module outside the facility before lifting them into place. This strategy allowed concurrent work inside the building, making more efficient use of space and enhancing safety.

During the vitrification process, secondary liquids will be generated from the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility melter off-gas system. These liquids will then go to the EMF where excess water is evaporated and transferred to Hanford’s nearby Liquid Effluent Retention Facility, while the remaining concentrate is sent back into the vitrification process. The Vit Plant remains on pace to begin waste treatment as soon as 2022.