It's an important milestone in the VIT plant at Hanford. Think of it as pre-heating an oven to make sure it's working properly.

Workers heat up the second of two massive burners

 The Tri-City Area Journal of Business reports workers at the Hanford site recently were able to successfully heat up the second of two massive machines that will eventually turn radioactive waste into glass.

Workers at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, known as WTP, turned on 18 temporary startup heaters. Each of these melters weighs about 300 tons and will operate at a temperature of 2,100 degrees.

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Hanford officials say the second unit successfully achieved the desired temperature, and it performed as scheduled. According to the TCAJOB, here's what's next:

"After running clean glass through the second melter, both melters and facility systems will go through several months of testing using simulated waste. Plant personnel will then run tests on the facility’s exhaust systems that remove contaminants.

When hot commissioning begins next year, tank waste treated to remove radioactive cesium and solids will be fed to the melters and mixed with the molten glass. That mixture will be poured into stainless steel containers to cool prior to transporting them the short distance to Hanford’s Integrated Disposal Facility."

Glassification of the waste has been found over the years to be the safest method for containing, stabilizing, and storing nuclear waste.

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