The Department of Energy is celebrating a major milestone in its tank waste mission at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. DOE tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions has finished construction of the pipeline that will carry treated waste from an underground tank to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) for vitrification.
The new 3,500-foot pipe-in-pipe transfer line connects the WTP, also known as the Vit Plant, to a double-shell tank in Hanford’s AP Tank Farm. That tank will serve as a holding tank for liquid waste that has been treated by the Tank-Side Cesium Removal System to remove radioactive cesium and solids. Workers installed the cesium removal system next to the AP Tank Farm earlier this year and are conducting readiness reviews prior to starting to treat tank waste early next year, the DOE said.
A video featuring the transfer line connection can be viewed here.
They said it: “This is a significant step forward in our Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program to treat tank waste,” said Brian Vance, manager of the DOE’s Office of River Protection and Richland Operations Office. “The connection represents another example of this year’s progress and also demonstrates the strong commitment by the Department of Energy and our contractors to safely move our important site mission forward.”
“It’s exciting to see the physical connection from the tank farms to the Vit Plant,” said Valerie McCain, WTP project director and senior vice president for Bechtel National, the contractor designing, building, and commissioning the plant. “This final tie-in symbolizes the collaborative spirit at Hanford and how we are all committed to treating waste.”
The process: During hot commissioning and operations at the plant, the treated waste will be pumped in batches from the double-shell tank directly to the plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility for vitrification and disposal.
Bechtel expects to heat up the first of two vitrification melters in the Low-Activity Waste Facility by the end of the year as part of the plant commissioning process. Hanford is preparing to start vitrifying tank waste by the end of 2023.