In August 2012, EnergySolutions dedicated the EnergySolutions Engineering Laboratory (ESEL) to Washington State University Tri-Cities (WSU-TC). The $3 million, 13,000 square-foot facility meets a growing demand for large-scale testing to support Hanford and other DOE site contractors. The facility, conceived in partnership with the WSU-TC, has stayed busy performing tests since being commissioned.
This unique facility achieves two important objectives. First, ESEL provides a future operating laboratory environment for WSU students and faculty to learn and gain hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) experience. Second, the facility houses important testing programs in support of Hanford Site projects, helping to ensure their successful progress while reducing risk to workers and our environment.
“The research and testing conducted at the ESEL facility further entrenches this university with a committed community partner,” said WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young. “EnergySolutions is a valued partner and supporter of the polytechnic approach to STEM higher education and has done so through employment of WSU Tri-Cities graduates, providing support through financial and in-kind donations and by offering professional expertise and advice to our student body, faculty and staff. WSU Tri-Cities looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with EnergySolutions through the current and proposed expanded ESEL facility.”
The research and testing conducted at the ESEL facility further entrenches this university with a committed community partner.
WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young
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The facility’s high-bay houses large-scale testing apparatus to support Pulse Jet Mixing testing for Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant (WTP). The Large-Scale Integrated Test platform is vital to the success of the WTP. Testing will allow designers to verify and/or revise designs of critical mixing equipment prior to installation in the plant. A unique feature of the facility is the incorporation of a tall barometric tower to accurately simulate elevation changes in the plant design.
Additionally, operation of the test platform permits engineers to validate and test control software systems and train future operators. The complex control solution designed specifically for the WTP will undergo extensive validation testing prior to plant commissioning.
ESEL will also test the effects of erosion and corrosion on WTP piping. The testing will help designers better understand the impacts and timing of erosion caused by certain slurries transferred through the pipes. Since much of the piping will be inaccessible after the WTP is commissioned, understanding the impacts of erosion in a test environment is critical to designing the plants piping systems.
“The ESEL facility has been an integral part of the WTP testing program with its flexibility to accommodate various test platform configurations,” according to Felice Presti, Bechtel area project manager at the Vit Plant. “The ESEL facility has allowed the test program to advance quickly in the effort to collect data necessary to support resolution of Vit Plant technical decisions.”
The ESEL facility has allowed the test program to advance quickly in the effort to collect data necessary to support resolution of Vit Plant technical decisions.
Felice Presti, Bechtel area project manager at the Vit Plant
EnergySolutions continues to identify additional opportunities for testing programs to be performed at ESEL and expects to be fully utilized in 2016. Potential clients include Bechtel National, Washington River Protection Solutions and the DOE’s Office of River Protection, in addition to clients from other DOE sites, Canada and the United Kingdom. As demand for ESEL work increases, EnergySolutions has prepared plans for a 5,000 square-foot expansion on the seven-acre site owned by WSU. The construction schedule for the expansion is dependent on testing program funding and schedules.
EnergySolutions Engineering Laboratory had an exciting and successful first 2 ½ years. With an emphasis on safety and quality, ESEL’s work force delivered and will continue to deliver critical test data to important projects like the WTP. EnergySolutions is confident the facility and its talented team of engineers, operators and support staff will continue to exceed their clients’ expectations. The partnership with WSU Tri-Cities has unequivocally been a mutual success, and both parties look forward to continuing to meet the key objectives of providing world-class educational facilities and performing testing services.