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Hanford Makes Progress Retrieving Tank Waste, Prepares for Future Transfers

Published: May 15, 2023


These photos were taken inside single-shell Tank AX-101 before Hanford Site workers started removing radioactive and chemical waste from it in January. Crews have removed 35% of the tank waste.

RICHLAND, Wash.  Hanford Site workers continue to make headway dissolving solid waste in a large underground storage tank in a campaign to remove and transfer 426,000 gallons of radioactive and chemical waste to a newer double-shell tank for safe storage until the waste is treated.

Meanwhile, field crews are getting several other tanks ready for future waste retrieval campaigns.

Since starting retrieval operations on single-shell Tank AX-101 in January, the team with EM Office of River Protection (ORP) contractor Washington River Protection Solutions has removed 35% of tank waste.

“Removing the waste from the single-shell tanks and upgrading the aging infrastructure in the tank farms is a top priority for the Department of Energy,” said Delmar Noyes, ORP assistant manager for Tank Farms Project. “It is a necessary step to protect the community and the Columbia River, and to advance our mission to reduce risk on the site.”

Tank AX-101 is the last of four tanks in the AX Farm to be retrieved, and when completed, AX Farm will be the second tank farm at Hanford where retrieval operations have been completed.

Crews are preparing other tanks for retrieving and receiving waste. Workers were recently trained on new tools to make it safer and more efficient to remove a contaminated pump from double-shell Tank AY-101. The training readies the workers for success as they prepare the tank to receive waste in the future.

Workers continue to set up the six tanks in the adjacent A Farm for waste retrieval operations by removing outdated equipment and installing new retrieval systems and infrastructure. To retrieve waste from one of the tanks, A-106, workers will drill a hole through the top of the underground tank to install retrieval equipment. Workers at the Cold Test Facility are building a mock-up to test the cutting system, which is designed to help protect workers from radiological exposure when they drill into the tank.

“We have talented team members who demonstrate a commitment to efficiency and innovation and approach their work with a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said Peggy Hamilton, WRPS Single-Shell Tank Retrievals manager. “They work together to safely and seamlessly transfer waste, moving us forward in the Hanford cleanup mission.”

-Contributor: Kristin M. Kraemer

Title: Hanford Makes Progress Retrieving Tank Waste, Prepares for Future Transfers

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