Friday, September 01, 2006

Modification to Hanford Vitrification Plant RCRA Permit

"This message is from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Advance Notice

Comment Period

2+2 Melter Configuration Permit Modification

October 2 - November 17, 2006

Washington State’s Department of Ecology invites you to comment on a permit modification for Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP). The plant will change millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste, now stored in aging underground tanks, into glass. The draft permit incorporates the following changes into the WTP Permit, Chapter 10 and Attachment 51 of the Dangerous Waste Portion of the Hanford Facility Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit.

The melter configuration is changed from one high-level waste (HLW) melter and three low-activity waste (LAW) melters to two HLW and two LAW melters (2+2) Detailed designs for the HLW melters are added.

A public comment period runs from October 2 through November 17, 2006. Ecology will consider all comments it receives during the comment period. Ecology will also issue a response to comments when it issues the final decision on the modification."

The notice goes on to give a link for the draft permit, but as I post this, I don't see this comment period mentioned there. Probably in a few more days. This modification seems more significant than many of the other numerous permit modifications, etc., at Hanford. The vitrification plant (also called the vit plant and WTP, as I recollect, is going to be a complex of three huge buildings: a pre-treatment unit to separate and prepare the high and low level waste streams, a high level vitrification unit, and a low level vitrification unit. To change the configuration from one high-level melter and three low to two of each, at this point in the festivities strikes me as some kind of big deal.