Three large nuclear-quality exhausters have been delivered to the Hanford vitrification plant and lowered into place inside the Low Activity Waste Facility, according to Department of Energy contractor Bechtel National.
"These exhausters serve an important safety function for the plant and the environment," said Jeff Bruggeman, DOE area project manager for the facility.
The 6-ton exhausters are key components in a complex air-filtration system that will ensure the facility's air emissions meet environmental regulations.
The air-filtration system includes monitoring equipment, HEPA filters, a carbon bed adsorber, caustic scrubbers, the exhausters and an emissions stack that is more than 130 feet tall.
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The exhausters work as large fans that pull and channel off-gases from processing through the system equipment to ensure it is treated and filtered properly. Two of the exhausters will operate full time and the third will serve as a backup.
"The exhausters are crucial to the air-filtration system and to protecting the environment, workers and our surrounding communities," said John Platt, Bechtel area project manager for the facility. "They meet all nuclear-quality standards and have undergone extensive testing to ensure they will remain functional during and after a seismic event."
Each exhauster is made primarily of stainless steel and measures more than 13-feet long, 6-feet wide and nearly 7-feet high. A crane was used to lower them into place through the roof to the 48-foot elevation of the Low Activity Waste Facility.
Construction of the vitrification plant, which began in 2001, is about 60 percent complete. It will turn radioactive waste left from past weapons plutonium production at Hanford into a stable glass form for disposal.