Vit plant receives honor from Energy Department

Hanford's vitrification plant construction site has received the Voluntary Protection Program Superior Star award from the Department of Energy.

The Bechtel National project is the only Hanford project to receive the award this year.

Projects that already have earned Voluntary Protection Program, or VPP, status for safety excellence are considered by DOE each year for the Star of Excellence or the more elite Superior Star. To earn the Superior Star, programs must report injury and illness rates well below national averages, demonstrate strong involvement in the VPP Participants' Association and in VPP mentoring and outreach.

"We have more than 1,800 people working on four complex nuclear facilities on a 65-acre construction site," said Frank Russo, Bechtel project director for the plant, in a statement. "A strong safety culture is absolutely essential."

The construction site earned VPP Star status in July 2010.