Waste Treatment Plant HLW & LAW Melters
Bechtel National Inc.
The melters (NQA-1 requirements) are the heart of the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant (worlds largest chemical-radioactive waste treatment plant) just outside of Richland, Washington. 53 million gallons of radioactive waste will be processed through these melters. The pretreated liquid waste from the tanks will be combined in the melters with glass forming and processing aid chemicals where they will react, melt, dissolve and mix at temperatures of 2100°F (1150°C). The molten (liquid) glass will be poured out of the melters into specially designed containers, allowing the glass to cool (solidify) prior to being shipped and stored in a much safer condition. The melters cannot be turned off once the process has started, and so the reliability of the melters is crucial to the success of cleaning up waste at the site. Seismic analysis and calculations were run during design stage by the Bechtel design team. Petersen Inc. fabricated these melters to meet all design criteria using a combination of high temperature structural materials. Metallic components are primarily Inconel and stainless steels with a ceramic refractory liner. Each melter is built on a roller equipped base to facilitate movement into and out of the Hanford waste treatment facility. Acceptance testing involved constructing and installing representative facility rails on our floor to show proper fit and load distribution, as well as maximum weight load testing of each structure. The assembly and testing of these critical nuclear material handling units has also been accomplished entirely in house. The physical size and crane capacity built into the Petersen Inc. facilities makes these types of projects possible.
HLW Melter – 30 major components with hundreds of sub assemblies ~ Dimensions: 14’W x 14’L x 15’H. Total weight of each finished assembly is 90 tons.
LAW Melter – 60 major components with hundreds of subassemblies ~ Dimensions: 21’W x 30’L x 19’H. the base, walls and lids weigh 150-tons for each of the two assemblies.