Richland, Wash.,
14:55 PM

Vit Plant Team Completes EMF testing

The Hanford Vit Plant team recently finished all startup testing and system handovers for the Effluent Management Facility (EMF), marking its full transition into the commissioning phase.

“This caps off a significant cohesive effort across the treatment plant project,” said Mat Irwin, Department of Energy Office of River Protection deputy assistant manager for the plant. “Handing over all systems and areas of the EMF to plant management is a huge step toward treating Hanford’s tank waste.”

Progress since construction began on EMF can be seen in a new video. The EMF plays a key role in Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) approach to treating tank waste. DFLAW is a system of interdependent projects and infrastructure improvements, managed and highly integrated as a program, that must operate together to vitrify the tank waste, which means immobilizing it in glass. During DFLAW operations, secondary liquid called effluent is generated. This effluent goes to the EMF, where excess water is evaporated from it and transferred to a nearby retention facility.

The EMF includes 77 integrated systems across four buildings. After startup testing for each EMF system was finished, the startup team documented the results, and each system was handed over to the plant management team to initiate commissioning. The commissioning phase ensures the utilities and process systems are integrated and ready to support future plant operations.

“Everyone from our skilled craft workers, test engineers, control room staff, handover coordinators, and all of our EMF support organizations stepped up to make this final stretch of handovers successful,” said Rick Holmes, general manager for Waste Treatment Completion Company, a subcontractor to project lead Bechtel National, Inc. “Now, we will continue focusing on completing handovers for the remaining treatment plant systems.”

The only remaining DFLAW startup activities are within the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility, where the vitrification process will occur. To date, about 50 percent of the facility’s 94 systems have been handed over to plant management, with completion of all systems anticipated later this summer.

The treatment plant team expects to begin heating up the first melter inside the LAW Facility by the end of the year. Information on the commissioning process, including a loss-of-power test and melter heatup, is available here.

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

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

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