IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Engineers and operators supporting the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site have taken the facility to new heights in its recently completed confirmatory run.
IWTU staff operated the facility continually for nine weeks under stable temperatures and pressures, converting approximately 137,000 gallons of liquid simulant to a granular solid.
In addition to more than doubling the previous simulant treatment milestone — about 64,000 gallons — engineers and operators also successfully completed a contractor readiness assessment. DOE has scheduled an independent federal facility readiness assessment to commence in mid-August. Those two assessments are crucial for validating the readiness of IWTU for radiological operations.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the men and women supporting the IWTU’s confirmatory run,” said Bill Kirby, senior director of Liquid Waste and Fuels for EM INL Site cleanup contractor Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC). “I saw a level of dedication and professionalism in our staff that proved this isn’t just a job or task, it’s a mission for which they take great pride.”
IEC IWTU Nuclear Startup and Operations Director Jimmy Spells praised the teamwork of the IWTU staff in completing the confirmatory run.
“Every team member went above and beyond during this run,” he said. “Team members performed with purpose, were adaptable when necessary, and most importantly, they were personally invested in achieving a successful outcome.”
Following the cooldown of the facility, the IWTU will begin a scheduled outage. Equipment and instruments will be examined and repaired or replaced as necessary to ensure optimal performance prior to the commencement of radiological operations.
Additionally, new ceramic filters within the process gas filter — which performed as designed during the latest confirmatory run — will be closely examined. Gases generated in IWTU’s primary reaction vessel are transferred to the filter, which removes fine solids.
The IWTU is scheduled to begin radiological operations this fall.
The facility was constructed to process 900,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste into dry granular solids that will be packaged in stainless steel canisters and stored in concrete vaults. The waste was generated during decontamination activities following spent nuclear fuel reprocessing.
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