Construction has been completed on the water treatment building at Hanford's vitrification plant.
It's one of about 20 support buildings on the plant's 65-acre construction site that will serve the four large facilities that will handle radioactive waste as it is turned into a stable glass form for disposal.
"The vit plant will be largely self-contained, functioning like a small city," said Gary Olsen, area project manager for the Department of Energy, in a statement. "It will have its own substation, steam plant and fire water system. The water treatment building is part of this crucial support."
The water treatment building, located near the entrance of the plant construction site, houses equipment that will filter and treat the 400 gallons of water per minute that plant operations will require.
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The water will be piped underground from DOE's water system and then processed into one of the three types that will be needed at the plant: domestic, process service or demineralized.
The domestic water, which will require the least treatment, will be needed for general use, such as safety showers and eye wash stations.The process service water will require more treatment and will be used for hose stations in the major plant facilities that handle radioactive waste.
That water will be further filtered to produce the demineralized water. It will be used in equipment maintenance processes where it is important that minerals not build up, including for pipeline flushing, instrumentation rinses and equipment decontamination.
"This building is key to providing the quality of water needed," said Bill Clements, Bechtel National area project manager, in a statement.
The water treatment building houses two chemical-addition tanks, 15 water pumps and nine process skids. Four storage tanks -- two for the process service water and one for each additional type of water -- also are located just outside the building.
The tanks are connected by underground pipes to each of the vitrification plant's four major nuclear facilities and various support buildings. The major nuclear facilities include the Pretreatment Facility, where waste is separated into waste streams and then sent to either the Low Activity Facility or the High Level Facility. An Analytical Laboratory will support those facilities.
Construction of the entire vitrification plant is expected to be completed in 2016, with the plant operating in 2019.