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Bechtel Engineer Named Tri-cities Engineer of the Year

  • 06 March 2013
    RICHLAND, Washington
  • Americas, Community and Volunteerism, Defense & Nuclear Security, Press Release

Engineer Recognized for Key Contributions to Engineering of Waste Treatment Plant

Bechtel engineer John Olson, a deputy technical manager at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), has been named Tri-Cities Engineer of the Year. Olson was recognized for his significant technical contributions to engineering the facility and his active involvement in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers at the local and national levels.

“John exemplifies Bechtel’s commitment to designing and building a plant that will safely and effectively treat Hanford’s waste, and we are proud to have him as a part of our team,” said Frank Russo, Bechtel’s project director for WTP. “John’s recognition as Engineer of the Year is well deserved.”

Also known as the Vit Plant, WTP is being developed to safely treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste currently stored in underground tanks in Washington state. When operational it will turn the waste into a stable, solid glass form using a process called vitrification. Olson is responsible for executing the engineering associated with pulse jet mixing, one of the most complex aspects of the facility.

Olson is a Nuclear Engineering Division National Vice Chair for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and serves on the Columbia Valley Chapter executive board. The Tri-Cities Engineer of the Year award is presented annually by the Tri-Cities Engineers Week Coalition and Washington State University Tri-Cities. All Tri-Cities area engineers are eligible for the award and can be nominated by their professional societies or three fellow engineers. Nominees are judged in three areas of contribution: technical, professional, and community.

Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI), a leader in environmental cleanup and restoration of former nuclear weapon production sites, is designing and building WTP for DOE. The project is more than 60 percent complete. According to industry experts, the nuclear waste, a byproduct of the plutonium production that took place from the 1950s through the 1980s, must be deliberately and responsibly disposed of to eliminate any health or environmental risk.

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