During World War II and throughout the Cold War, southeastern Washington state housed a vast complex of nuclear reactors and processing facilities that produced plutonium for atomic weapons. The Hanford Site was decommissioned in 1987, but its nuclear and chemical waste remains. The Waste Treatment Plant will render it safe in the form of glass logs inside stainless steel canisters.
WTP's High-Level Waste Facility will vitrify each year nearly 500 canisters worth of waste. The canisters, first stored at the Hanford Site, will be stored permanently at a federal repository. WTP's Low-Activity Waste Facility will produce about 1,100 containers per year, to be stored permanently at the Hanford Site.
The complexity of the waste presents unprecedented challenges. Bechtel continues to refine its design to address the results of ongoing reviews by experts from government, academia, national laboratories, and the nuclear industry and to incorporate updated technologies.
For more information about waste vitrification, please visit our Savannah River Site page