RICHLAND, Wash. – EM Office of River Protection (ORP) contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) recently conducted load testing on a crane that will play a crucial role in assembling spare melters critical to tank waste treatment at the Hanford Site.
“Once the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant begins operations, the facility will use two melters operating around the clock,” said ORP’s Joe Renevitz, who oversees future operations of the plant. “It’s imperative we have the two replacement melters available to minimize processing impacts.”
The melters are the heart of Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program, which will deliver treated waste from the tank farms directly to the plant for vitrification, or immobilization in glass form, for safe disposal. The tank waste will be mixed in the melters with glass-forming materials at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The melters have an expected lifespan of five years. Since replacement melters take a few years to build, WRPS is already preparing to assemble the spares.
The Low-Activity Waste Melter Assembly, Storage and Transportation (LAWMAST) facility near the Hanford Site is where the replacements will be assembled and stored. The LAWMAST building was once used for full-scale vessel testing in support of the treatment plant and is being repurposed for the melter assembly.
To help with the assembly process, workers installed a 5-ton crane. As a requirement of testing, the crane needed to have the ability to lift 25% more than the expected capacity. The crane met that requirement, lifting 12,500 pounds.
“Some melter components, including the lid, are too heavy for this crane to lift, so we’ll bring in a mobile crane for these infrequent operations,” said Allan Exley, manager of operations planning integration. “The 5-ton crane will be used for routine melter assembly activities like filling the melter with large ceramic blocks that each weight about a ton.”
There are a few more construction items to finish before crews can begin installing additional components necessary for assembling the melters. Assembly is expected to begin once the melter shells are delivered to the LAWMAST facility in summer 2022.
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