Hanford tank AP-102 safely holds nuclear waste

A robotic crawler inspects the floor in between the inner and outer shells of tank AP-102.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to the safety of its workforce, the public and the environment. The DOE Office of River Protection (ORP) and Hanford tank farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) have been evaluating the structural integrity of Hanford’s double-shell tanks. While the ongoing inspection program did identify some thinning in spots of the outer carbon-steel tank shell of tank AP-102, visual and electronic ultrasound inspections have found no breaches in the outer shell of the double-shell tank. The inner shell of the tank continues to safely hold the radioactive and chemical waste. There have been no indications of any breach in the inner tank shell nor any indications of waste leaking into the tank annulus.

DOE-ORP and WRPS manage robust tank integrity inspection programs that proactively seek to identify areas of concern regarding Hanford’s tanks and manage associated risk. Early identification of issues is key to understanding Hanford’s underground tanks and safely maintaining them through the duration of the mission. The Washington State Department of Ecology has been fully involved in the evaluation program and is being kept informed on its progress.

The full version of the Washington State Department of Ecology letter is available here.

Investigation shows no tank leak in Double-Shell Tank AZ-101

RICHLAND, Wash. — Contamination recently found on a piece of equipment used to inspect a Hanford double-shell tank is not the result of a primary tank leak, an investigation has found. Read more…

Office of River Protection highlight safety, progress at Waste Management Conference

PHOENIX – The Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection (ORP) and its contractors will present recent accomplishments and progress at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) and the Hanford Tank Farms, on March 7 at the 2017 Waste Management Symposium… read more

Retrieval Complete in Double-shell Tank AY-102

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection (DOE-ORP) has completed waste retrieval activities “to the limits of two retrieval technologies” in accordance with a Settlement Agreement between DOE-ORP and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) at Hanford’s double-shell tank AY-102. Read more…


WRPS continues to support GLAM

GLAM 2015.Movie_Snapshot“I want to be in manufacturing when I grow up” is not something you hear from most girls, but local organizations are working together to change that perception. In fact, manufacturing is an in-demand career open to all genders.

Recently, more than 100 high school students from the Tri-City areas participated in the GLAM event. The event was hosted by the Tri-City Development Council and Columbia Basin College, and WRPS participated as a key sponsor.

“It’s not a field that is talked about to girls,” said geologist Frannie Smith, who served as a mentor at the Girls Learning About Manufacturing (GLAM) event.
The main lesson during the interactive event taught the girls to make toys for specific audiences. Through inception to production, the girls were exposed to different career opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

WRPS volunteers bring excitement to STEM summer school

STEM summer school 2015 (4)Fewer places might be more desolate than an elementary school classroom in summertime.

Unless, that is, you’re one of 400 Pasco STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) students who signed up for a special summer school session this year. The two-week session brought learning to life by incorporating guest speakers, classroom experiments and engineering activities that kept them plenty busy.

WRPS employees infused a little excitement into the final day of class by visiting with the students and viewing the presentations of their final projects.

Students were allowed two choices: build a terrarium to house Venus flytrap plants or create a robot to pollinate rosy periwinkle flowers.

“Students worked in groups of three and told us how they used the engineering design process to come up with their product,” said Hector Ubinas, WRPS Production Control engineer. “I couldn’t believe how creative they got with some of these designs. It was really impressive.”

Each of the options had a scenario driving the need for the project. For the Venus flytrap plants, a resort was being overwhelmed by the local mosquito population and was in need of a terrarium to grow the flytrap plants that would help reduce the mosquito population.

The robotic pollinator was required for a medical research lab developing life-saving medicine from rosy periwinkle flowers. The lab was looking for a method to pollinate the flowers to continue growing them without the use of bees.

“Students were given a backstory about a need, then they used the engineering process to provide a solution,” said Jen Uchida, WRPS Instrument & Control Engineering. “At the end of the day, that’s what engineering is all about.”

Other WRPS participants included Bryan Blair, Shawn Campbell, Lucas Cash, Chris Ensign, Kody Fullerton, Mark Haag, Matt Huntington, Mike Kingen, Jeff McClellan, Jerad Ontko, Andrew Prince, Dustin Rorden, Colleen Smalley, Andy Waterworth and Jessica Witherspoon.