Strong WRPS safety culture keeping workers safe, drawing national attention

RICHLAND, Wash. – Employees of Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) are working safer than any time since safety statistics have been available for the Hanford tank farms, since the beginning of 1991…read more.

WRPS awards subcontract for construction of waste pretreatment capability to prepare for vitrification

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) has awarded a subcontract to AVANTech, Inc. to design and build a new tank waste pretreatment capability at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state. Read more…

AY-102 retrieval wins PMI award

WRPS given prestigious project management awards

The AY-102 Recovery Project was named the international Project of the Year by the Project Management Institute (PMI) at its Oct. 28 Global Conference. From left, Caterina La Tona, vice chair of the PMI Board of Directors, Sebastien Guillot, AY-102 Recovery Project manager, Doug Greenwell, WRPS Retrieval manager, and Mark Dickson, chairman of the PMI board.

Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), an AECOM-led company, received the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2017 Project of the Year Oct. 28 for its work to remove radioactive waste from an underground storage tank at the Hanford Site in Washington state. WRPS is the Hanford tank operations contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of River Protection.

The international award was given to the Hanford Double-Shell Tank AY-102 Recovery Project, in which workers removed more than 725,000 gallons of nuclear waste from a failed storage tank, meeting a critical Settlement Agreement commitment signed with DOE, the Washington State Department of Ecology and WRPS.

“The work we do at Hanford is difficult and hazardous, making it imperative that safety is at the forefront of everything we do,” said Mark Lindholm, WRPS president and project manager. “Our union workers are highly trained, highly skilled and dedicated to completing the job safely. It’s fitting and deserving that their work, supported by our skilled engineers, project managers, and safety, radcon and industrial hygiene staff, is being recognized with this prestigious award.”

PMI’s Project of the Year recognizes large, complex projects that cost in excess of $100 million and demonstrate superior performance of project management practices, superior organizational results and positive impacts on society.

The other finalists for the PMI Project of the Year award were DeBeers’ Gahcho Kue diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Sound Transit’s University of Washington Light Rail Extension in Seattle. The winner was announced at the PMI Global Conference in Chicago.

In addition, WRPS’ AP Farm exhauster upgrade project received a PMI Award. Read more…


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…

WRPS earns second award for mentoring local small business

Yesterday the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of River Protection’s (ORP) tank farms contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), was awarded the U.S. Department of Energy Fiscal Year 2016 Mentor of the Year award for leadership in mentoring local small businesses. This is the second time WRPS received this award, the first time being in FY 2011. Read more…

Hanford Site Contractors Receive Award for Procurement of Sustainable Electronics

RICHLAND, Wash. – Three Hanford Site contractors – Mission Support Alliance (MSA), CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M) and Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) – were recently recognized as leaders in the procurement and use of sustainable information technology products by the Green Electronics Council and managers of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) label. The council recognizes companies for their efforts to reduce costs while also taking steps to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gases. 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…


Washington River Protection Solutions wins national safety award

Campbell Institute Award

Mark Lindholm (third from left), WRPS President and Project Manager, receives the 2017 Campbell Innovation Challenge award Tuesday at the Campbell Symposium in New Orleans.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) received the 2017 Campbell Innovation Challenge award Tuesday for developing a physiological monitoring program that has eliminated heat stress cases the past two years at the Hanford tank farms.

WRPS, an AECOM-led company, is the Tank Operations Contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state. The company is responsible for managing 56 million gallons of highly radioactive and chemical waste stored in 177 underground tanks.

The Innovation Challenge, which is awarded by the Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council, recognizes organizations for their achievement in the planning or implementation of an innovative program addressing critical environmental, health and safety topics in a way that demonstrates creative thinking, strategic implementation and significant impact.

“WRPS and AECOM are honored to be recognized by Campbell Institute,” said Mark Lindholm, WRPS president and project manager. “This award demonstrates not only the creativity and forward thinking of our employees, but also their steadfast commitment to protecting their co-workers, the public and the environment.”

Hanford is located in a hot desert environment. Many workers wear extensive personal protective equipment that often includes multiple layers of impermeable clothing tape-sealed to two pairs of gloves, booties, hoods and necessary respiratory protection. While this equipment protects the worker from chemical and radiological hazards, it creates other physical threats, including the increased potential of heat stress.

Physiological monitoring is a basic way to measure the level of an individual’s heat strain in response to heat-stress conditions. The new physiological program involves monitoring employees’ heart rates using a novel chest-mounted heart rate monitor that allows for remote, real-time assessment of heat strain and core body temperature using a tympanic membrane thermometer for periodic assessment of heat strain.

In the past, WRPS and other Hanford contractors conducted assessments for heat stress using Wet Bulb Globe Temperature measurement and relied on self-reporting of symptoms. When workers had symptoms, they exited the work location, removed multiple layers of PPE and had their heart pulse rate measured.
“The innovative program removes employees from harmful heat-related tasks before they develop heat stress symptoms,” Lindholm said.

WRPS performed physiological monitoring on a limited basis in 2014, then conducted full campaigns in 2015 – which was one of the hottest summers ever on the Hanford Site with 28 days at or over 100 degrees – and again in 2016. In 2,290 sessions conducted in 2015 and 2,510 sessions in 2016, there were no heat stress-related disorders. The campaigns ran from May through September.

The project team that developed and implemented the innovation consisted of WRPS management, field work supervisors and industrial hygiene personnel. The team conducted significant testing of the heart pulse rate monitor and remote monitoring system. Ongoing, comprehensive campaigns educated and involved employees to develop associated protocols and procedures.

“The development and implementation of the program was realized because of employee engagement, teamwork and a strong commitment to safety,” Lindholm said. “Congratulations to the team for making the tank farms a safer place to work.”

Twitter: @WRPSTOC