Hanford

$17 billion Hanford vit plant clears hurdle for final support building

The state of Washington has issued permits that will allow Bechtel National to complete construction of the Effluent Management Facility at the Hanford vitrification plant.
The state of Washington has issued permits that will allow Bechtel National to complete construction of the Effluent Management Facility at the Hanford vitrification plant. Courtesy Bechtel National

The Hanford vitrification plant has received the last state permits needed to finish construction of the final building of the $17 billion plant that will be needed to start treating some radioactive waste.

The 18,400-square-foot Effluent Management Facility is being added to about 20 support facilities already constructed on the vit plant campus on the nuclear reservation.

It will handle liquids captured in an off gas system for the plant melters used to heat radioactive waste with glass forming materials to turn the waste into a stable glass form for disposal.

The Effluent Management Facility will evaporate water from the off gas liquids, a step that would have been done at the plant’s Pretreatment Facility. An alternative was needed as construction has been delayed at the Pretreatment Facility because of technical issues.

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The Washington state Department of Ecology has issued the permits that will allow mechanical and piping systems to be installed in the Hanford vitrification plant’s Effluent Management Facility/ Courtesy Bechtel National

DOE is working to start glassifying low activity radioactive waste by a U.S. court-ordered deadline of 2023. Full operation of the plant — including treatment of high level waste — is not required until 2036.

The permits issued by the Washington state Department of Ecology will allow contractor Bechtel National to install mechanical and piping systems inside the Effluent Treatment Facility. The building’s concrete walls were completed in the spring.

Crews are assembling equipment and piping systems outside the facility now, and the larger equipment and tanks will be lifted into the facility by cranes.

The Effluent Management Facility stands about 60 feet tall and is being constructed with 9,500 cubic yards of concrete and 748 tons of structural steel.

Department of Energy budget documents put the building’s cost at about $371 million, with planned completion by June 2021.

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