Progress Edition

Bechtel National: In 2018, Hanford vit plant continues on path to startup

Bechtel employee Megan Phillips interacts with students at Rowena Chess Elementary as part of the Junior Achievement program.
Bechtel employee Megan Phillips interacts with students at Rowena Chess Elementary as part of the Junior Achievement program. Bechtel National

I joined the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) as the new project director in time to lead some of the most exciting developments we will have achieved in recent years. 2018 marks a significant shift from engineering and construction to startup and commissioning of our facilities.

In fact, we will complete physical construction of the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility and transfer control of this portion of the site from construction to plant management. This action demonstrates that construction is finishing and our efforts are intensifying to test and commission facilities required for operations.

Vitrifying waste at the WTP through an initiative called Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) also requires the support of nearly 20 additional facilities, which we call the Balance of Facilities, or BOF. It contains 56 systems, including an electrical power distribution system, backup power, water purification, compressed air, steam, communication and control, and fire water systems. In 2017, we began starting up the systems within these facilities.

In 2018, our progress in that work will include:

▪  Complete physical construction of the LAW Facility.

▪  Complete testing of the water treatment building systems.

▪  Complete civil construction of the Effluent Management Facility (EMF), which is part of BOF.

▪  Begin receiving the vessels and equipment that need to be installed in EMF.

▪  Submit the documented safety analysis for LAW and receive approval of this key deliverable from the Office of River Protection (ORP). This document lays out the conditions, safety protocols and hazard controls required to operate the plant safely.

▪  Obtain the operating permit from the Washington State Department of Ecology for the Analytical Laboratory.

Underlying our past and future success are positive and constructive relationships with the Washington State Department of Ecology and ORP. We value the work we’ve done together to ensure we are transparent and meeting requirements of our customer and stakeholders.

In 2018, we also anticipate sufficiently resolving the remaining technical issues related to the Pretreatment Facility. Last year, with ORP’s support, we sufficiently resolved multiple technical challenges that would allow engineering to proceed in support of design and safety basis development. We also completed testing and reporting of full-scale vessels that indicate we can meet DOE’s nuclear quality and safety and performance requirements for this facility.

During fiscal year 2017, we purchased $211 million in goods and services for the WTP, with nearly 60 percent of those in Washington and Oregon. Of that, $94 million was spent in the Tri-Cities.

Our team includes members of the community who work for Bechtel and AECOM and are committed to protecting the river and our communities. In 2017, our employees, along with Bechtel and AECOM, donated nearly $800,000 to Tri-City area charitable organizations and programs, including United Way, Toys for Tots, Junior Achievement and more than 25 others.

I’m proud to have joined WTP at a time when we have demonstrated significant progress to the customer and community. We have a strong team in place to realize our plans and to meet our commitments with the highest levels of safety and quality.

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