RICHLAND, Wash. – EM’s Office of River Protection and tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) completed the first tank waste volume reduction campaign of the year earlier this month, creating an estimated 166,000 gallons of valuable double-shell tank storage space.
During the 15-day campaign, approximately 900,000 gallons of liquid waste from feed tank AW-102 was transferred to the 242-A Evaporator where it was heated to a boil under a vacuum. Vapor from the boiling waste was collected, condensed, filtered, and sent for later treatment and disposal at the Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF), resulting in the 166,000-gallon tank waste volume reduction. The remaining concentrated waste was transferred back to a double-shell tank.
“The 242-A team responded to a number of required partial shutdown evolutions during this campaign,” said Jim Foster, WRPS manager of 242-A/AW/ETF operations. “The professionalism, abilities, and knowledge of all crews being able to successfully respond to these evolutions is a testament to their dedication and training.”
Since the last evaporator campaign in September 2017, crews completed improvements to the facility, including installation of new air conditioning in the evaporator control room, an effluent sampling station, and an upgraded continuous air monitor.
“Evaporator operations are critical to successful tank waste management at the Hanford Site,” said Paul Hernandez, ORP 242-A Evaporator program manager. “By reducing the volume of waste stored in double-shell tanks, the process allows the continued transfer of waste from older single-shell tanks into newer double-shell tanks until it can be sent to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant for vitrification.”
A second evaporator campaign is planned for June. The evaporator has removed more than 85 million gallons of liquid from Hanford’s tank waste since beginning operation in 1977.