The work is happening inside a 3,300-square-foot laboratory at Columbia Basin College (CBC) in nearby Pasco. WTP contractor Bechtel National Inc. (BNI) set up the lab at CBC so chemists and other specialists can train with the same equipment for the WTP Analytical Laboratory in support of EM’s plans to begin treating tank waste through its Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) vitrification approach.
“We are really in the phase where we are now starting that transition to operations, as so many people have worked for so long to enable us to achieve,” said Brian Vance, ORP manager. “This laboratory is another major step in the direction of moving from a focus on construction to operations.”
Chemists train at a local college laboratory with equipment that will eventually be transferred to the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant’s Analytical Laboratory.
While chemists develop the methods, processes, and procedures inside the college laboratory, work crews perform facility systems startup and testing at the Analytical Laboratory.
During the WTP’s cold commissioning phase, a waste-like simulant will run through the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) facility. Then a hot commissioning phase will begin turning low-activity waste into sturdy glass.
“We are in the early hiring and training phases for the laboratory technical staff that will eventually be transferred from the CBC lab to WTP’s large Analytical Laboratory at the Hanford Site,” said Brian Reilly, a BNI senior vice president and director for the WTP Project. “Through our work here at CBC, we are preparing the future workforce for the plant’s cold and hot commissioning phases.”
Dr. Rebekah Woods, CBC president, said it’s an honor to know that work supporting the Hanford cleanup mission is happening at CBC.
“It’s great that our campus can be a community resource for companies who are training the next generation of Hanford’s workforce,” Woods said.
The WTP Analytical Laboratory’s key function is to confirm that all glass produced by the LAW facility meets regulatory requirements and standards. The DFLAW approach is expected to allow treatment of low-level waste to begin by a court-ordered milestone date of 2023.