ABOUT THE HANFORD VIT PLANT PROJECT
In southeastern Washington state, Bechtel National, Inc. is designing, constructing, and commissioning the world’s largest radioactive waste treatment plant for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). When complete, the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, will process and stabilize million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste currently stored at the Hanford Site.
The 56 million gallons of waste are a byproduct of national defense plutonium-production efforts during World War II and the Cold War era. It resides in 177 aging underground tanks. Of these, more than 60 have leaked, contaminating the subsurface and threatening the nearby Columbia River.
Under Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste, the low-activity waste in those tanks will be treated and then piped to the Vit Plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility, where it will be vitrified. The molten mixture is poured into stainless steel canisters to cool and solidify. In this glass form, the waste is stable and impervious to the environment, and its radioactivity will safely dissipate over hundreds to thousands of years.
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
MEET THE HANFORD VIT PLANT LEADERSHIP TEAM
Members of the Vit Plant’s leadership team are recognized experts in their fields. They bring decades of experience to the important clean-up mission at Hanford and are committed to the safe design, construction, and operation of this vital waste treatment facility.
Hanford Vit Plant Project Director
Valerie McCain is the Project Director for the Vit Plant at Hanford. Bechtel manages design and construction of the Vit Plant for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection. McCain, a Bechtel Senior Vice President, was named Project Director in October 2018 after performing in the same role at the Uranium Processing Facility Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee since December 2017. She joined UPF as Deputy Project Director in 2015.
Site Director/WTCC General Manager
Rick Holmes is the Vit Plant Site Director and General Manager for the Waste Treatment Completion Company (WTCC), a subcontractor to Bechtel at the Vit Plant. He has nearly 30 years of experience in engineering, construction, and project management.
WTCC Deputy General Manager
Bruce Covert brings nearly 35 years of leadership experience in the management and operation of nuclear and other high-hazard facilities for the Department of Energy and the U.K.’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. He most recently served as president and project manager for the AECOM-led team at the DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. He also served as the project director of environmental, safety, health and quality for the AECOM-led River Corridor Closure Project at Hanford.
WTCC Plant Manager
Kent Smith brings 35 years of experience in engineering and project management, including extensive experience in the nuclear industry, to the Vit Plant team. Kent joined WTCC in 2018 from Washington River Protection Solutions where he served as vice president of Tank Farms Production Operations and vice president of Single Shell Tank Retrieval and Closure. Before WRPS, Kent was the director of the Waste Stabilization and Disposition Project at Hanford. Kent also served as an officer in the United States Navy.
Melter 1 Heatup Completion Manager
Ross Hamlett leads the Melter 1 Heatup Completion that, which includes dedicated resources from organizations that perform work leading to melter heatup. He previously was the WTCC Commissioning Manager and he has more than 25 years of experience in operation and management of complex facilities spanning project phases from design through construction, startup, and operation. Ross began his career with the U.S. Navy nuclear propulsion program.