Bechtel Responds to DOE Internal Memo Regarding Safety of Waste Treatment Plant Design
Bechtel 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.
WTP Project Initial Responses to the 34 Points in Brunson Memorandum
Initial review indicates that the issues raised in this memo have largely already been addressed with DOE. However, BI\II welcomes the opportunity for continuing discussions, and is committed to full transparency about the critically important WTP project, which we are confident is being designed and built to safely and efficiently address the real risk currently in the tanks.
The attached document (and letter to employees) below reflects BNl's review of and initial response to the 34 technical issues raised in Brunson's memo.
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