11:55 AM

New Training is "Rad" at Vit Plant

Plant draws closer to operations

Radiological Worker Training

RICHLAND, Wash. The word “rad” has finally arrived at the Hanford Vit Plant, and it’s not for a 1980s throwback.

Instead, more than 450 workers at the plant will receive radiological, or “rad,” worker training as the plant nears commissioning, when operators will run a nonradioactive waste simulant through the plant to ensure systems are working properly. 

“Rad worker training is a constant across the rest of Hanford,” said Mat Irwin, Department of Energy Environmenta Management's Office of River Protection deputy assistant manager for the plant. “But it’s new at the plant as facility construction is finished, Analytical Laboratory startup is complete, and startup testing for the Low-Activity Waste Facility and Effluent Management Facility is nearly complete. The team is well prepared to complete training prior to cold and hot commissioning.”

During commissioning, workers will need to demonstrate proper rad safety performance as if the plant were treating radioactive waste from Hanford’s large underground tanks. The required training will help personnel maintain knowledge and skills.

“We are preparing our employees to safely operate the plant and turn tank waste into glass,” said Kelly Neal, deputy safety and health manager for Hanford subcontractor Waste Treatment Completion Company to prime contractor Bechtel National Inc. “Starting the training early is important to make sure our team is ready for commissioning.”

The addition of rad worker training signifies another important step toward commissioning and eventual operations for the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste process, a system of interdependent projects and infrastructure improvements, managed and highly integrated as a program, that must operate together to vitrify tank waste, which means to immobilize it within glass.

“The need for this training now demonstrates how close we are to commissioning,” said Irwin. “It’s exciting to begin seeing the permanent plant training programs being implemented.”

The training began this month and is scheduled for completion by the fall. The training is required for anyone who might access radiological areas, work with radioactive materials, or operate radiation-generating devices. Training consists of classroom modules and a written exam, as well as an onsite session for recognizing signs, postings, and barricades, and entering and exiting radiological areas. More advanced training will be held for employees learning how to don and doff personal protective equipment for entering and exiting contamination areas.

View individual plant facilities and their interior spaces using a self-guided Hanford Virtual Tour.

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.