Richland, WA,
11:51 AM

Vit Plant Completes Startup Testing

The Vit Plant has completed all startup testing of components and systems associated with transforming low-activity tank waste into a safe form for disposal.

This accomplishment moves the plant fully into the commissioning phase where final steps are taken to prepare for vitrifying, or immobilizing in glass, radioactive and chemical waste as part of Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program.

“It was a huge milestone for the startup team to transfer the final DFLAW systems to the care, custody, and control of plant management,” said Valerie McCain, project director and senior vice president for Bechtel National, Inc., the prime contractor designing, building, and commissioning the plant. “We are in the final phase of our preparations to start vitrifying waste.”

The DFLAW Program is a system of interdependent projects and infrastructure improvements, managed and highly integrated, that must operate together to vitrify the waste.

“With the completion of startup testing, we can focus on commissioning and establishing the operating culture necessary to safely begin a new era of operations at Hanford,” said Mat Irwin, Office of River Protection deputy assistant manager for the plant. “All contractors are driving toward 24/7 operations to ensure we can operate the plant successfully.”

During vitrification, waste is treated to remove radioactive cesium and solids and will be fed directly to the plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility melters. The waste and glass-forming materials will be mixed, heated, and poured into specially designed stainless-steel containers. The containers will be transported a short distance to the site’s Integrated Disposal Facility for disposal.

The plant facilities can be viewed using the self-guided Hanford Virtual Tour.

Contact: Staci A. West, 509-378-0308 or

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.