Training facilities upgraded at Hanford's waste treatment plant

January 17, 2024, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Training instructor Chris Oliveros poses inside a new radiological control training classroom at Hanford’s WTP. (Photo: DOE)

The training team at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) recently added an extra level of realism to employee trainings by upgrading classrooms and adding new props, according to the Department of Energy.

The improvements are intended to build operational readiness by allowing students to train in scenarios that closely resemble what they will encounter on the job.

“These improvements bridge the gap between training and practical application,” said Mat Irwin, acting assistant manager for the WTP within the DOE Office of Environmental Management’s Office of River Protection. “When the students encounter situations like what they’ve practiced, they’ll be better equipped to handle them.”

What’s new: The classroom setup allows for the simulation of working in a radiological environment. Students are required to wear protective gear, just as they would in the field. The classroom also includes a dedicated space for students to practice putting on and removing personal protective equipment.

“We've intensified the challenges, mirroring the intricacies of accessing radiologically controlled areas,” said Owen Peters, training and procedures manager for Waste Treatment Completion Company, a subcontractor to WTP lead contractor Bechtel National. “We've even introduced fluorescent materials to demonstrate how contamination spreads in the absence of proper radiological practices."

New training props show students the inner workings of valve systems. (Photo: DOE)

Know your valve: Elsewhere on the WTP job site, a new set of training props is helping students gain a better understanding of valve systems. Fourteen different types of valves have had pieces cut away to reveal their inner mechanisms.

“These cutaway props allow students to enhance their understanding of valve systems and apply that to their work," said Sara Hannickel, operations training supervisor for Waste Treatment Completion Company. “The hands-on training is contributing to fewer errors in the field and providing an all-around better learning experience."

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