The Vit Plant team last week poured the first batches of glass-forming beads, called frit, into a melter heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, the beads melted and created the first molten pool inside the melter, which during future hot operations will immobilize radioactive and chemical tank waste in a form safe for permanent disposal.
A second attempt began on Saturday to heat up the world’s largest radioactive waste melter to turn waste into a stable glass form at the Hanford nuclear reservation site.
The Vit Plant recognized a significant team achievement when the last of its eight shift operations managers finished a rigorous qualifications process.
Bechtel today named Senior Vice President Brian Hartman as project director for the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) project at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site.
Hanford Site crews recently completed the first transfer of test water from the Vit Plant’s Effluent Management Facility (EMF) to the nearby Liquid Effluent Retention Facility (LERF). The transfer of 6,000 gallons was the first simulation of the process that will be used to treat secondary liquid waste from the plant’s Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility during Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program operations to treat tank waste.
As any sports fan can attest, achieving greatness takes more than just a team full of star players. Experienced coaches need to design the plays and guide them to success. The team at the Vit Plant follows that model in its approach to operations with the recent addition of conduct-of-operations coaches.
The Hanford Vit Plant team recently reached a historic milestone when its first crew of commissioning technicians became fully qualified control room operators. “The Bravo crew set the standard, and we’ve qualified additional crews since,” said Valerie McCain, project director and senior vice president for Bechtel National, Inc., the EM Office of River Protection (ORP) prime contractor designing, building and commissioning the plant. “It is an important achievement as we ensure the people, plant, and paperwork or processes are ready as we go into melter heatup and cold commissioning.”
The Vit Plant has completed all startup testing of components and systems associated with transforming low-activity tank waste into a safe form for disposal. This accomplishment moves the plant fully into the commissioning phase where final steps are taken to prepare for vitrifying, or immobilizing in glass, radioactive and chemical waste as part of Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program.
The Vit Plant has successfully completed a loss of offsite power (LOOP) commissioning test, a critical step toward the heatup of melters and vitrification of Hanford’s radioactive and chemical tank waste for disposal. When offsite power was cut during the test, plant personnel activated backup power to keep critical safety systems operational while they worked through procedures to restore power to the plant.
A material resembling small glass beads will serve as a critical ingredient to heating up the first melter at the Hanford Vit Plant, set for later this year, and is being provided by Richland-based company Fluid Controls and Components Inc (FCCI).
The Vit Plant team has completed startup testing of two melters and related support systems in the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility, moving a step closer to transforming, or vitrifying, radioactive and chemical waste from large underground storage tanks into a glass form safe for disposal.
The Vit Plant’s Analytical Laboratory team has completed a commissioning test of a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system that uses a new filter design that exceeds nuclear industry standards and requirements. Finishing the test was a prerequisite for the laboratory team to begin using scientific equipment with radioactive materials, which is required for operations.