A crew member at the Hanford Site's Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant holds a handful of small carbon pellets loaded into the emissions treatment system in the Low-Activity Waste Facility.
A crew member at the Hanford Site's Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant holds a handful of small carbon pellets loaded into the emissions treatment system in the Low-Activity Waste Facility.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant team recently completed loading approximately 55,000 pounds of small carbon pellets into the emissions treatment system of the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility.

Roughly 2,160 cubic feet of the pea-sized pellets, enough to fill five dump trucks, were loaded into units known as carbon bed adsorbers, which will treat emissions by removing mercury.

The carbon bed adsorbers are part of the LAW Facility’s larger off-gas treatment system that cleans, filters and scrubs the emissions generated by the facility’s two melters during waste vitrification when radioactive and chemical waste and glass-forming materials are heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. Melter emissions will be treated to remove particulates, mercury, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and acid gasses.

“Loading the carbon bed adsorbers is an important step in readying the LAW Facility emissions treatment system for operations,” said Rick Holmes, general manager for Waste Treatment Completion Company, a subcontractor to project lead Bechtel National, Inc. “The system will protect workers, the public and the environment and ensure we meet state and federal regulatory standards during operations.”

During Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste operations, waste treated to remove radioactive cesium and solids at a tank farm will be fed directly to the LAW Facility’s melters. The waste and glass-forming materials will be mixed, heated and poured into specially designed stainless-steel containers. The containers will be transported a short distance to the site’s Integrated Disposal Facility for disposal.