RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) team achieved a significant accomplishment recently as construction crews completed turnover of the Analytical Laboratory systems to the full startup phase.
“The laboratory is the first major WTP facility to complete systems turnover work,” said Tom Fletcher, WTP project director for EM’s Office of River Protection. “Finishing major construction and turning the laboratory systems over to the startup phase moves us closer to treating radioactive tank waste.”
The turnover comes after WTP contractor Bechtel National Inc. (BNI) successfully energized the laboratory’s lights, panels, and outlets this past fall.
The laboratory’s key function is to confirm that all glass produced by the Low Activity Waste (LAW) facility meets regulatory requirements and standards. During direct feed low-activity waste operations, technicians in the laboratory will analyze approximately 3,000 process samples each year. Analyses will confirm the correct “recipe” needed to produce a consistent glass form. Samples will also be taken throughout the vitrification process to confirm a high-quality glass product and good process controls.
The turnovers from construction to startup of 34 systems included electrical, mechanical, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and high purity gases systems.
“This accomplishment involved many people and teams,” said Valerie McCain, BNI principal vice president and WTP project director. “It represents the full range of work including design and engineering, environmental permitting, procurement, construction, and many support organizations.”
Thanks to a phased transition of systems to the startup phase, the startup team is well underway in testing to verify the laboratory equipment and systems are in safe and working order for handover to the commissioning phase. Laboratory systems testing is anticipated to finish this year.
In the meantime, WTP chemists are developing the processes needed to analyze radioactive tank waste at the laboratory. This work is happening inside a 3,300-square-foot laboratory at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington. BNI set up the laboratory there so chemists and laboratory specialists can train with the same equipment that will be eventually transferred to the WTP Analytical Laboratory to support WTP’s commissioning phase.