The mission of the Department of Energy Office of River Protection is to immobilize the waste in glass at the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) and safely store it until a permanent national repository is opened. It will be the job of Washington River Protection Solutions to feed waste from the tanks to the Waste Treatment Plant.
A major challenge is developing the technology needed to safely and reliably retrieve the waste from Hanford’s tanks and feed it to the Waste Treatment Plant. The waste is a diverse mix of radioactive and hazardous chemicals in the form of liquids and sludges.
Another challenge is putting in place the infrastructure necessary to transfer waste from tank to tank then on to the WTP. Temporary above-ground hose-in-hose transfer lines are used to move waste from tank to tank. Underground transfer lines are in place to move waste between the 200 West and 200 East areas, a distance of about seven miles. The underground transfer line that will feed the WTP Pretreatment Facility is also in place.
WRPS is also working to resolve technical issues, integrating the system to prepare for startup of the Waste Treatment Plant and is working on the proposed direct feed of low-activity waste to the plant.
As part of an integrated One System team, WRPS is working closely with Bechtel National, the WTP contractor, to provide additional support. This team is made up of employees from both companies who are focused on making sure the tank farms are ready to deliver waste to the WTP once the facility comes online.