10:20 AM

Key equipment reaches Vit Plant

Collaboration with Lampson International delivers final vessels to EMF

What weighs 160 tons, stands 40 feet tall, needs a barge and massive crane to transport, and will play a role in treating nuclear waste? A pair of vessels delivered recently to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, or Vit Plant.

These two vessels were transported by barge up the Columbia River, offloaded by Lampson International at the Port of Benton in Richland, and then delivered on a specialized trailer last week to the Vit Plant at Hanford. There, the vessels – called process condensate lag storage vessels – will be installed in the Effluent Management Facility (EMF), a key part of the Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) process for treating low-activity tank waste as soon as 2022.

“These vessels are impressive in size. The planning and logistics to barge and deliver it was just as impressive,” said Scott Monson, Bechtel National, Inc.’s area manager for DFLAW. “Now, the construction crew will take over and work to install them this summer.”

EMF is part of the infrastructure complex that will support DFLAW, the plan for feeding waste directly from the Hanford tank farms to the Low-Activity Waste Facility for vitrification.

“EMF is the last major construction project at the Vit Plant,” said Erik Olds, Department of Energy DFLAW deputy. “We have been working hard over the years, and we can see those efforts are coming to fruition. You can feel the sense of urgency.”

The Vit Plant’s logistics team worked closely with Lampson, which managed the loading, unloading and land hauling. Lampson contracted to Foss Maritime for the river transport, bridge clearance and river level coordination.

“We’ve worked with Lampson throughout construction, and on many DFLAW equipment deliveries,” said Valerie McCain, project director for BNI, which holds the prime contract to design, build, and commission the Vit Plant. “We value working with local and regional companies in our mission to protect our community and the river.”

During vitrification, secondary liquid waste is generated from the melter off-gas system and during waste transfer pipe flushing. These liquids go to EMF, where excess water is evaporated, and remaining concentrate is sent back into the vitrification process. The two vessels will receive batches of concentrated liquid for storage while it’s being tested to ensure it meets regulatory requirements.

With its arrival at EMF, the team will stage the vessels outside the facility and install pipe supports and piping before installing them into the structure. The 7-foot-tall ‘skirt extension’ for each vessel had to be shipped separately and will be connected later to ensure the vessels could clear bridges along the river. Then the vessel platforms, pipe connections, and associated final instrumentation and electrical scopes will be finished before they are installed this summer.

Harris Thermal Transfer Products, located in Newberg, Oregon, completed fabrication of the vessels.

About Bechtel:

Bechtel 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 Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, will immobilize the millions of gallons of radioactive liquid waste stored in 177 underground tanks using a process called vitrification. Visit