Retrieval of waste complete in double-shell tank AY-102 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Retrieval of waste complete in double-shell tank AY-102

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RICHLAND, WA – 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.

In September 2014, DOE-ORP, Ecology and Hanford tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) signed a Settlement Agreement that required the retrieval of waste from double shell tank AY-102 no later than March 4, 2017. On Feb. 23, 2017, DOE-ORP and WRPS notified Ecology that waste in AY-102 had been retrieved to the limits of two retrieval technologies, as required under the Settlement Agreement.

“WRPS did an exceptional job planning, coordinating, and executing this work,” said Kevin Smith, DOE-ORP manager. “I’m very proud of them for meeting the schedule commitment under challenging conditions, including our unpredictable winter weather.”

AY-102, one of 28 double-shell tanks at Hanford, was taken out of service in 2012 after it was discovered waste had leaked from the inner tank into the annulus, the area between the inner and outer tank shells. The waste was contained in the annulus and there is no indication that it leaked into the environment.

Since waste retrieval operations at AY-102 began last March, approximately 725,000 gallons of radioactive and chemical waste – 98 percent of the tank’s original waste volume – has been retrieved and moved to another double-shell tank. DOE and Ecology will engage in discussions regarding the disposition of the remaining waste.

“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, president and project manager of WRPS. “Our workers are highly trained, highly skilled and dedicated to completing the job safely. Additional safety precautions were put in place to protect them from workplace hazards associated with waste retrieval.”

Preparing for retrieval required more than two years of infrastructure upgrade work on AY-102 and receipt tank, AP-102.

With waste retrieval complete, in the coming months an inspection of the tank will be conducted to try to determine the cause of the leak and a determination made whether to repair or close the tank.