Office of River Protection honors team for Vit Plant milestone
EM’s Office of River Protection and contractor Bechtel recognized the Hanford Vit Plant team this month for completing assembly of the first of two Low-Activity Waste Facility vitrification melters.
The following is an edited version of an article that appeared in the July 28, 2017, edition of the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management's EM Update newsletter.
EM’s Office of River Protection (ORP) and contractor Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI) recognized the Hanford Vit Plant team this month for completing assembly of the first of two Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility vitrification melters.
ORP Federal Project Director Bill Hamel and BNI Project Manager Kim Irwin congratulated the team members and presented them with certificates of appreciation during an employee event.
“Not only did you do a safe and quality job, you made sure safety and quality were constructed into the product,” Hamel said.
The 300-ton nuclear waste melter is one of two inside the LAW facility, and is the largest vitrification equipment of its kind in the U.S. The melters represent the “heart” of the Vit Plant low-activity waste vitrification process, and completing the assembly marks another step towards completing LAW facility construction. Completion of the second melter assembly is expected in September.
The LAW facility, an Analytical Laboratory, and 20 support facilities are part of EM’s Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste approach to treat low-activity tank waste ahead of full Vit Plant commissioning, taking advantage of facilities close to completion. When operational, the melters will heat Hanford’s low-activity tank waste and glass-forming materials to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit — which is the vitrification process — before the mixture is poured into stainless steel containers for permanent storage. The melters will produce 30 tons of glass daily.