10:42 AM

Startup testing expands to major Vit Plant facilities

Low-Activity Waste Facility and Analytical Laboratory take next step in commissioning

Employees at the Hanford Vit Plant have begun startup testing at the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility and the Analytical Laboratory, marking the next step forward in commissioning.

Bechtel is working toward initiating treatment of Hanford’s tank waste in the LAW Facility by the end of December 2021 through the Direct Feed LAW (DFLAW) approach.

“This is another step on the path to treating waste at Hanford,” said Bill Hamel, EM Office of River Protection Assistant Manager and Federal Project Director for the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). “Bechtel continues to make good progress on the WTP.”

Critical testing is underway nearly every day. Startup verifies systems are complete and in safe, working order. Testing has begun in three areas at the LAW Facility:

  • Nonradioactive Liquid Waste Disposal (NLD) System of sumps, pumps, pipes, valves, and instruments. The parts are generally in the basement, and include the system’s largest single component, an 18,000-gallon vessel. The NLD also includes floor drains and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning condensate drains throughout the building.
  • Distributed Control System (DCS), consisting of sensors that monitor fluid levels, pressures, temperatures, and flow rates everywhere in the LAW Facility. Testing has begun on the first two floors.
  • Electrical Motor Control Centers (MCC), including breakers, switches, and power supplies. Testing has begun on the basement and the first floor, as well as Building 24 switchgear.

Startup personnel also began testing on the Analytical Laboratory’s DCS and MCC systems adjacent to the test engineers work station, which includes the temporary control and monitoring room for all testing on the project.

Previous startup testing has focused on an extensive array of process support infrastructure called the plant’s Balance of Facilities (BOF).

The LAW Facility is integral to the DFLAW approach, which uses the LAW Facility, support facilities, and the Analytical Laboratory, slated to be finished in advance of completion of the entire Vit Plant. This allows waste vitrification as soon as possible and provides valuable experience for Vit Plant operations when the plant is complete.

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 some of the chemical and radioactive waste stored in 177 underground tanks using a process called vitrification. Visit