Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) crews recently finished installing about 1,300 feet of new waste transfer lines between a tank waste evaporator and a nearby tank farm at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, near Richland, Wash. WRPS is the tank operations contractor for the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM).
Installation of the transfer lines at the 242-A Evaporator facility is part of several upgrades being made to Hanford facilities as EM prepares for continuous operation of its Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program to treat radioactive and chemical tank waste for disposal.
“These new transfer lines allow us to continue using the evaporator to strategically stage waste for treatment through DFLAW,” said Ricky Bang, Tank Farms Program Division director for EM’s Office of River Protection.
Background: Waste is pumped from the tank farm to the evaporator, which removes water to create more storage space in the site’s double-shell tanks. EM and WRPS manage that capacity for retrieving waste from older single-shell tanks, another important component of EM’s tank waste mission at Hanford.
The evaporator has removed more than 81 million gallons of liquid from the site’s tank waste volume over the past four decades. With the new transfer lines and other upgrades made to the facility since 2019, the next evaporator campaign is scheduled to begin next year, EM said.
Pandemic pause: According to EM, design of the transfer line replacement project started in December 2018, but work stopped when COVID-19 hit in early 2020. Fieldwork began in October 2020 with the removal of older contaminated equipment at the tank farm that feeds waste to the evaporator.
Turnover of the new waste transfer lines to operations is scheduled to be complete by early December, after which the evaporator will begin a series of cold-run tests over several months using noncontaminated liquids.