When were first melters installed?

Assembly of the first melter was completed in June 2017. Melters were delivered to the Vit Plant in parts and assembled/fabricated on-site.

Will we “see” anything coming from the DFLAW facility after the melter is heated up and running? (exhaust, steam, plumes from a stack, etc.)

The rigorous offgas and charcoal filter system collects most discharge from the LAW facility. Because the discharge from the melters is high humidity, you may possibly see a steam/condensation plume from the offgas stack on a cold day.

How long after Melter Heatup until start of operations (treating waste)?

In the current schedule, the Operational Readiness Review for start of operations is 14 months after Melter 1 Heatup is completed. The Commissioning Test Planning Schedule lists 40 activities that must be completed from Melter 1 Heatup to initiation of tank waste into the facility. This important commissioning work takes approximately one year to complete.

What is the plan to replace a melter if one goes bad during operations or testing?

Melters have a limited lifetime and are designed to be replaced approximately every 5 years. A third melter is being fabricated now and is substantially complete. If one melter goes down, the replacement melter would be installed while the second melter continues operations.

How long does it take to heat up a melter?

It takes approximately 2 months. It takes about 22 days for the initial heatup, followed by several days of testing with frit addition through the melter head, followed by about 30 days of checkout with slurry feed from the feed system.

Will the melters stay on once they are heated up?

Yes. Melters have a life span of approximately five years; once they are heated up they will remain on and maintain a pool of molten glass until failure.

Is there anything in the melters when they are heated up?

Melters are empty during the initial heating period. Melters are then loaded with frit to establish the initial glass pool.

Are you heating up just one melter or both?

Initially, a single melter is heated up and tested. This creates an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned into the design or heatup procedures for the second melter. Melter Heatup is deferred to the end of commissioning phase to reduce melter idle time prior to hot commissioning. The shorter amount of time melters are active during testing will allow for a longer life span during vitrification operations.

How have personnel trained and prepared to heat up the melter, do it safely, and to meet quality standards?

Training for operators includes classroom training, on the job training, simulator training, qualifications, drills, and proficiency demonstrations.


What is commissioning?

Commissioning is the fourth of five steps to complete WTP (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Commissioning, Operations). Commissioning is the process whereby constructed WTP components and systems are verified by testing to meet requirements and subsequently placed into service.

In the DFLAW Commissioning Plan, each WTP facility undergoes a sequence of tests of progressively increasing complexity that demonstrate the WTP facilities meet contractual, regulatory, and functional design requirements. This testing sequence starts with simple component tests progressing to larger, more complex demonstrations at the system and facility level, culminating with integrated facility demonstrations with chemical simulant and ultimately, radioactive wastes.

How have you prepared with emergency management organizations?

Activities are ongoing now to drive operating culture. Pace and complexity of practice drills will increase further into 2021. Emergency preparedness drills are carried out in a crawl, walk, run fashion. We start with coached drills that include active guidance from observers and evaluators. Next, we ramp up to evaluated drills where our performance will be assessed, we will receive a grade, and are given the opportunity for lessons learned. Finally, we will partake in formal graded exercises that are evaluated by the DOE customer prior to start of operations.