College students help develop waste-measuring device at Hanford

April 25, 2024, 3:05PMRadwaste Solutions

A partnership between Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) and Washington State University has resulted in the development of a device to measure radioactive and chemical tank waste at the Hanford Site. WRPS is the contractor at Hanford for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management.

Workers at Hanford recently employed a new tool that uses radar to measure the depth of waste in underground tanks. (Photo: DOE)

Washington State engineering students worked with WRPS personnel to design what the DOE is calling “a safer and more efficient way” to measure the depth of the waste in Hanford’s large underground tanks.

How: The tool uses radar to measure the depth of the waste. The previous process involved having work crews lower a piece of pipe through the top of the tank until it contacted the waste surface. Workers recently used the tool during field operations at Hanford’s tank farms.

They said it: “Seeing this senior project move from conception to use in the field is exciting,” said Paul Schroder, DOE-EM Hanford deputy assistant manager for tank waste operations. “These partnerships provide students with real-world experience and contribute to the Hanford cleanup mission.”

“It was a privilege to help develop this new method while mentoring a team of mechanical engineering students,” said Doug Reid, a WRPS mechanical engineer. “This [Washington State University] senior project will have a lasting effect on advancing our safe and efficient operations at Hanford.”

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