Hanford

New DOE leadership named at Hanford vit plant

Tom Fletcher, center, talks to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during a tour of the Hanford nuclear reservation tank farms. Fletcher has been named the Department of Energy assistant manager for the vitrification plant.
Tom Fletcher, center, talks to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during a tour of the Hanford nuclear reservation tank farms. Fletcher has been named the Department of Energy assistant manager for the vitrification plant. Tri-City Herald

Hanford senior executive Tom Fletcher has been named the Department of Energy assistant manager and project director for the Hanford vitrification plant effective next week.

It’s the highest Hanford DOE position assigned exclusively to the vit plant, a $17 billion construction and commissioning project that employs about 3,000 people.

Fletcher currently holds the No. 2 position at the DOE Richland Operations Office, deputy manager. The office is responsible for Hanford nuclear reservation work employing about 3,750 people.

The position will be competed.

The assistant manager for the vitrification plant now is William (Bill) Hamel, who has held the job for five years.

He has accepted a new job as assistant manager for safety and environment at the Richland Operations Office, a position that has not been permanently filled for some time.

Rick Perry Hanford visit3
Bill Hamel, left, participates in a tour of the Hanford vitrification plant with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, center. Hamel has been named the assistant manager for safety and environment at the Hanford Richland Operations Office. Kimberly Teske Fetrow Courtesy Bechtel National

The change in leadership at the vitrification plant comes as work shifts into a new phase, with some construction near completion and an increased emphasis on start-up and commissioning of the plant.

It could begin treating low activity radioactive waste as soon as 2022.

Hamel led the project through much of the resolution of technical issues that stopped construction on parts of the plant that will handle high level radioactive waste. He also oversaw the switch to a new plan to start treating low activity radioactive waste first.

Fletcher previously was assistant manager for vitrification start-up, commissioning and integration at the DOE Office of River Protection.

He has two decades of experience on nuclear projects, much of it working on Hanford projects.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews

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