Officials have awarded a subcontract to design and build a new pretreatment system for low-level nuclear waste at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.
U.S. Department of Energy contractor Washington River Protection Solutions announced it awarded a subcontract to AVANTech Inc. Tuesday for its Tank-Side Cesium Removal demonstration project.
The project is the third proposal to prepare radioactive waste from the Hanford tank farms for treatment before it is channeled to the plant.
The idea is to separate cesium and solid materials from Hanford's underground tanks to provide a low-activity waste stream to the plant when it begins vitrifying waste by the 2023 court-ordered deadline.
The tank-side project will use technology previously deployed at DOE's Oak Ridge Site and at the Fukushima nuclear cleanup in Japan, among others.
DOE expects the tank-side pretreatment system to deliver low-activity waste to by December 2023 or sooner. It is expected to pre-treat 5 million gallons of waste.
The $17 billion vitrification plant is being constructed to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste associated with plutonium production for the nation's nuclear arsenal from World War II to the Cold War.