Bechtel Responds to DOE Internal Memo Regarding Safety of Waste Treatment Plant Design
29 September 2012
Bechtel today responded to a memo that questions the company’s ability to safely design the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), also known as the Vit Plant. The facility will treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste currently stored in underground tanks in Washington state.
“Everyone who works on this project knows that at the end of the day, this plant has to work safely and effectively because we are dealing with radioactive waste. We will get it right because people’s lives and the environment depend on it. That’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly, nor do the 3,000 people who work on this project,” said Frank Russo, Bechtel’s project director at WTP.
Russo went on to stress that the company has carefully reviewed the comments in the memo and found that the issues date as far back as 10 years and have long since been resolved in concert with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He added, “There is no question that the Vit Plant project represents a major design and engineering challenge, and I am the first to acknowledge there is still a handful of questions that must be answered before the entire plant can be completed.”
Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI) is designing and building WTP for DOE. The project is more than 60-percent complete, and the site recently announced its achievement of 12 million safe work hours without a lost work-day injury.
“I am confident Bechtel has the depth of talent and the expertise necessary to deliver a completed Vit Plant that will address the very real and present threat posed by the waste in the Hanford tanks. We respect and welcome the opinions of others and will continue to rely on prudent science to move forward with this increasingly important mission,” Russo added.
A leader in environmental cleanup and restoration of former nuclear weapon production sites. BNI’s experience includes the cleanup, remediation, and closure of high-level nuclear waste facilities in Washington state, New Mexico, and South Carolina.