RICHLAND, Wash. – New digital systems have significantly upgraded waste tank operations at the Hanford Site as the workforce prepares to support round-the-clock conversion of tank waste into glass in the site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant when the complex is operating.
EM Office of River Protection contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) has implemented a series of digital initiatives over the past several years. They include a suite of more than 60 software products that provide improved command and control of operations while reducing repetitive manual data activities and actions that can generate human error.
“In the past, we relied heavily on paper records that required more time to update and generally slowed our ability to communicate compared to using electronic records,” said Dimple Patel, EM Tank Farms instrumentation and control safety system oversight engineer. “Today’s digital technology makes recordkeeping more efficient and communications much faster, both of which contribute to mission progress.”
The upgraded digital technology has eliminated reliance on myriad white boards, clipboards, and paper. The upgrades have also improved worker safety and efficiency, simplified operations, automated data collection, and provided timely and accurate information to the workforce.
“We’re building the infrastructure that will provide critical information decision-makers need, wherever they are,” said Mirwaise Aurah, WRPS process and controls systems engineering manager.
Large wall-mounted touchscreen tablets provide an instant messaging system covering work activities, weather conditions, sampling plans, event notifications, and more.
In a further enhancement, six control rooms scattered throughout tank operating areas were consolidated into a single central control room. Through a network of secure wireless systems, technicians in the control room monitor leak detection systems, tank waste levels, waste transfer systems, and tank ventilation systems to ensure the integrity and continued safe operation of Hanford’s waste tanks.