Employees sit and stand around computers

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford Site crews recently made project history when they started pouring the first molten glass from a 300-ton melter into a stainless steel container at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. There is no waste or chemical simulants in the glass used to test the melter and associated equipment at the plant’s Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility. Workers monitored the pour from a control room as a stream of glass was released from the melter, as seen in this short video. The glass is poured in batches into stainless steel containers below the melter that are about 4 feet wide by 7.5 feet high. The first pour marks another important step in commissioning the plant as the EM Office of River Protection and contractor Bechtel National Inc. gear up to immobilize millions of gallons of radioactive and chemical waste from Hanford’s large underground tanks in glass for safe disposal. Workers are scheduled to start heating up the second of the two melters in the LAW Facility in December, applying lessons learned from heating up the first melter. In 2024, cold commissioning using a simulated waste will commence, and hot commissioning using real waste is scheduled to begin in early 2025.