RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Site is on the verge of initial radioactive and chemical waste treatment.
Today, EM announced construction and readiness assessments are complete on the Tank-Side Cesium Removal (TSCR) system at Hanford, an EM 2021 priority.
Transitioning TSCR from the building and testing phase to operations is a major step toward treating tank waste.
Click here to view a ceremony marking the completion of TSCR construction and readiness assessments, as well as additional TSCR information.
“Completing TSCR construction this year was a top priority for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management,” said Brian Vance, manager of the EM Office of River Protection (ORP) and Richland Operations Office. “For the first time, we will be able to treat a significant amount of Hanford’s tank waste. This is an exciting and historic time.”
The TSCR system will remove radioactive cesium and undissolved solids from waste currently stored in large underground tanks in preparation for vitrification — the process of immobilizing waste in glass.
The waste treated through TSCR will be stored in a double-shell tank until it is fed directly to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant’s Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility. In the LAW Facility, the waste will be mixed with silica and other glass-forming materials. The mixture will be fed into melters and heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
“We expect to begin heating up the first melter inside the LAW Facility by the end of this year,” said Vance. “When each piece comes together, it’s a cause to celebrate, because we’ve come one step closer to our goal of treating tank waste.”
TSCR is critical to beginning the treatment process using Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program, a system of interdependent projects and infrastructure improvements, managed and highly integrated as a single program, that will operate together to vitrify the waste.
Click here to view an animation of the DFLAW Program process.
ORP tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions designed the TSCR system and managed the construction and installation by subcontractors AVANTech, Atkins Nuclear Secured, Fowler General Construction, and Apollo.
“This is the culmination of nearly three years of coordinated work, from design, construction, and now operations, all done in the midst of a pandemic,” said John Eschenberg, WRPS president and CEO. “We are just weeks away from being able to operate TSCR. We are now transitioning our workforce from construction and testing activities to full-on 24/7 operations. This is an accomplishment that we all are very proud of.”
WRPS was able to complete the project on time, while keeping workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TSCR relies on a technology that was deployed successfully at several locations worldwide, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant cleanup in Japan. It uses a design concept similar to that of a unit built for DOE’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
TSCR is targeted to begin treating waste in early 2022 in preparation for DFLAW operations to begin by the end of 2023.
To receive the latest news and updates about the Office of Environmental Management, submit your e-mail address.