Oregon State Students Partner with Vit Plant Engineers


Five Oregon State University engineering students partnered with Vit Plant engineers for their senior capstone project.

Getting Hands on at the Vit Plant

The Vit Plant's Plant Engineering (PENG) and Analytical Laboratory teams have partnered with five students from Oregon State University's (OSU) school of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) on their senior capstone project. The students have been tasked with redesigning the carrier splitter assembly for the autosampling system (ASX), which separates sample vials from the carriers used to transport samples between facilities. The students recently visited the Lab, where they got hands on experience with the ASX.

“Working with these engineering students on their capstone project provides a win-win situation," said Pete Benson, plant engineering manager. “The OSU students gain valuable real-world experience working on actual engineering challenges, and our engineers get outside assistance and perspective on important engineering design."

The carrier splitter assembly is being redesigned after the initial assembly was unable to reliably perform its function. The replacement design also encountered technical challenges. The OSU students began working with PENG in September, meeting weekly via video conference to discuss design iterations. More recently, the team 3D printed a prototype for their design and are in the process of procuring parts to build a metal prototype. Their project is on track to be complete by their winter break.

John Domjan-Yuhas and Corbin Anderson are two members of the OSU capstone team. When asked about their experience visiting the Vit Plant they said:

The Hanford Site and the different teams working on it blew my mind. It was incredible to see the size of the plant and how our capstone project affects it.

John Domjan-Yuhas, OSU engineering student

I was impressed by the complexity of the plant and the number of moving pieces necessary to get it operational. I was also excited to see that our project will have an actual impact on the plant.

Corbin Anderson, OSU engineering student

Engineering a Lasting Partnership

A capstone project is a multifaceted academic experience typically required for students during the final year of an academic program. Capstone projects often require students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their academic careers to solve real world problems. This capstone project is part of a broader partnership between the Vit Plant and Oregon State University that helps students gain real-world experience while building a pipeline for potential future employees.

“We're excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with the engineering team at the Hanford Vit Plant," said Dr. Sarah Oman, senior instructor at OSU'S school of MIME. “The experience that these senior mechanical engineering students are receiving during this project will be invaluable when they move into the real world."

“Not only are they learning key engineering skills and knowledge, but they are applying and refining their professional skills while working on these critical engineering problems."

In addition to the capstone project support, Amentum at the Vit Plant has signed partnership agreements with OSU to facilitate ongoing networking and recruiting activities.​


About the Vit Plant

In southeastern Washington state, Bechtel National, Inc. is designing, constructing, and commissioning the world’s largest radioactive waste treatment plant for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). When complete, the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, will process and stabilize million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste currently stored at the Hanford Site.

During future Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste operations, the ASX will safely retrieve radioactive waste samples from the Low-Activity Waste Facility and deliver them to the Lab for analysis. There, Lab chemists and technicians will analyze the waste's radionuclides, metals, and organic materials and will confirm the correct glass-former “recipe" needed to produce a consistent form that meets all regulatory requirements and standards. 

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. www.bechtel.com