Richland, Wash. ,
12:40 PM

Major Vit Plant facility first to finish start-up testing

Achievement marks DOE contract milestone for Bechtel National

Workers have finished start-up testing at the Analytical Laboratory in Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, or Vit Plant, marking its first nuclear facility to reach that point prior to moving into the commissioning phase for operations.

The achievement meets a Department of Energy (DOE) contract milestone for the Bechtel National Inc-led team and supports DOE’s 2020 strategic vision priority for significant construction project milestones. Completing construction and then start-up testing of facilities for Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste moves the Hanford Site one step closer to treating millions of gallons of waste in underground tanks.

The plant’s commissioning team will now ensure workers are trained, systems and equipment are operational, and written procedures are in hand to support future lab operations.

“This is a significant accomplishment for Hanford cleanup,” said Tom Fletcher, DOE WTP Federal Project director. “The laboratory is critical to making sure tank waste is safely encased in glass and meets requirements for disposal. Our team is continuing to deliver significant progress.”

The laboratory’s key function is to determine the correct glass formulation “recipe” for each incoming batch of waste and confirm that vitrified glass produced by the Low-Activity Waste Facility meets regulatory requirements and standards.

During operations to treat tank waste using the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste approach, laboratory chemists and technicians will analyze approximately 3,000 samples each year. Samples will also be taken throughout the vitrification process to confirm production of a high-quality glass product and good process controls.

“Our entire workforce contributed to safely handing over the Analytical Laboratory systems from startup to commissioning,” said Valerie McCain, Bechtel National, Inc. principal vice president and Vit Plant project director. “Next, our workforce, along with teams of chemists and technicians, will integrate the training, systems, scientific instruments, and procedures needed to prepare the laboratory to support the treatment of low-activity waste.”

About Bechtel National, Inc.:

Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place. Bechtel serves the Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations.