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RICHLAND, WA – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Hanford workers have substantially completed construction of the Waste Treatment Plant’s Low Activity Waste facility. Under construction for 18 years, the completion of construction marks a milestone at the Hanford site. Delivering this accomplishment adds to a growing list of progress that includes completion of construction of other facilities needed to start treating radioactive waste from large underground tanks via the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) approach.

“The Department is committed to the shared goal of initiating tank waste treatment at Hanford via DFLAW,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “This progress marks a tremendous leap forward for the Hanford workforce and the Tri-Cities community as we drive closer to a new era of tank waste treatment at Hanford.”

DOE’s Under Secretary for Science, Paul Dabbar, joined the Deputy Secretary at Hanford. “The focus on solutions combined with a world-class workforce on the ground has led to results for the tank waste mission and beyond,” said Under Secretary Dabbar. “The impacts of this DFLAW achievement coupled with the overall progress of the past four years position Hanford for success throughout the decade ahead.”

Engineering, procurement, and construction has been completed in totality on 17 facilities at the Waste Treatment Plant, which will be used in the DFLAW approach. Through this approach, pretreated waste from Hanford tanks will be piped to the Low Activity Waste Facility where it will be vitrified, or immobilized in glass. The facilities include the Analytical Laboratory, Effluent Management Facility, and 14 support structures consisting of electrical power, backup power, water purification, compressed air, steam, communication and control, and fire water systems. These facilities are now in the start-up, testing, and commissioning phases to prepare for operations and the next major achievement -- heating up large melters that will vitrify millions of gallons of low-activity tank waste.

The DFLAW focus now shifts to preparing for the start of cold commissioning of the Low Activity Waste facility when a waste-like simulant will be run through the facility to test systems, plant monitoring, and management of systems.

Read more about the Hanford tank waste mission and the DFLAW approach HERE.

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