Large tanks hold water that simulates tank waste during commissioning of the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system on the Hanford Site.
Large tanks hold water that simulates tank waste during commissioning of the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system on the Hanford Site.

RICHLAND, Wash.EM's Office of River Protection (ORP) tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) recently started testing a system integral to treating the Hanford Site’s tank waste.

Completion of construction of the Tank-Side Cesium Removal (TSCR) system is among EM's 2021 priorities.

Operators are using water to simulate waste runs through the TSCR system. It will remove radioactive cesium and other solids from tank waste, which will then be fed to the Low-Activity Waste Facility in the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) to be vitrified, or immobilized in a glass form for safe disposal.

Washington River Protection Solutions Testing Director Tessa Alexander reviews processes and procedures as operators use water to simulate waste runs through the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system on the Hanford Site.
Washington River Protection Solutions Testing Director Tessa Alexander reviews processes and procedures as operators use water to simulate waste runs through the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system on the Hanford Site.

“Operators on each shift will have the chance to learn and validate the procedures,” said Tessa Alexander, WRPS testing director. “Water testing doesn’t exactly imitate tank waste, but it gives us a good idea of how the processes work, and whether changes need to be made.”

WRPS placed a trailer near the TSCR system to simulate an additional control room, providing operators additional space to train and for test managers to monitor testing progress while maintaining social distancing.

Prior to beginning operations, the TSCR ion exchange columns currently being used for water runs and readiness reviews will be replaced with columns that contain the cesium-filtering material needed to treat the tank waste.

Monitors in a trailer adjacent to the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system allow test managers to view simulated waste runs.
Monitors in a trailer adjacent to the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system allow test managers to view simulated waste runs.

“It’s exciting to be on the verge of this system being ready to support treating tank waste,” said Janet Diediker, ORP TSCR federal project director. “With commissioning of the TSCR system underway we are another step closer to beginning a new phase of environmental cleanup at the Hanford Site.”