Work has begun on the interior fittings of the Hanford vitrification plant's largest building as it continues to rise.
The Pretreatment Facility, which will stand 120 feet high, is now at 77 feet high in places and continues to rise steadily as concrete and steel are installed.
The facility will be used to separate radioactive waste now held in underground tanks into high level and low activity waste streams for separate treatment for final disposal.
It's the largest building planned on the vit plant's 65-acre campus and measures 540 feet long and 215 feet wide.
"Up until now, we've primarily concentrated on the exterior structural framework of the facility," said Leon Lamm, area project manager for the Pretreatment Facility, in a statement. "Now we are integrating efforts to install commodities inside the building."
Crews have started installing a massive heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, duct inside the facility's hot cell, a shielded area to protect workers from radiation as they conduct work inside it using remotely operated equipment. The duct is part of the primary ventilation system in the building.
The HVAC duct is 5 feet in diameter and will run more than 400 feet, the length of the hot cell.
Because the hot cell will be used to separate the waste into high level and low activity waste streams, the ductwork must meet stringent nuclear-quality standards.
Intermech, a subcontractor to Bechtel National, will continue work to install the duct over the next few months. To prepare for the work, ceiling coatings were applied to structural steel and piping running above the ductwork was installed.