RICHLAND, Wash. – The EM Office of River Protection (ORP) and contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) have resumed processing tank waste through the Tank-Side Cesium Removal (TSCR) System at the Hanford Site following a second, planned maintenance outage.
The treatment system has processed more than 25,000 gallons of waste in the past week, treating a total of 406,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste since it began operations early last year.
During outages, workers change out filter columns that remove radioactive solids during waste processing, perform maintenance and apply lessons learned from operations.
Many improvements to the treatment system during outages over the last year came from recommendations made by workers and contractor and federal staff on the project team.
“The cesium removal system is a demonstration project, and this is the first time we are treating tank waste on an industrial scale at Hanford,” said Delmar Noyes, ORP assistant manager for Tank Farms Project. “We are learning, strengthening our processes and adding improvements that we can use in future, similar systems.”
Crews did more work during the second planned maintenance outage, which began in July 2022. In addition to performing required maintenance, they replaced a valve indicator, addressed two small leaks inside the treatment system, installed additional cameras inside the treatment enclosure to improve visibility for operators and added an area for workers to put on and take off personal protective equipment.
“The TSCR team is doing a great job of being cautious, putting safety first and stopping when encountering unexpected conditions,” said Wes Bryan, WRPS president and project manager. “This commitment to safety is expected as we learn, adapt to and overcome project challenges.”
In this video, workers share the challenges and pride that come with working on the project.
The treatment system removes radioactive cesium and solids from tank waste, and delivers low-activity waste to a nearby million-gallon tank, where it is staged until it can be fed to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant for vitrification, or immobilization in glass. The system is a key component in Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program to treat tank waste.
The federal and contractor TSCR project team was honored in January with a 2022 Secretary of Energy Achievement Award. The award recognized the team for significant accomplishments within DOE and the team’s dedication, strong coordination, innovative problem-solving and dedication to safety. The team completed TSCR construction and started operations three months ahead of schedule and $29 million under the approved total project cost of $164 million.
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