Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), an AECOM led team, is eliminating the risk posed by 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste stored in underground tanks near the center of the 586 square-mile Hanford Site.

Cleaning up the Hanford tank farms is the largest and most complex environmental restoration project within the Department of Energy complex. Challenges include the application of new and innovative technologies and fortifying an already strong safety culture as we maintain our commitment to perform high-hazard work safely and effectively.

When cleanup of the Hanford Site began in 1989, the technology to remove waste from underground storage tanks did not exist. Hanford has been pioneering new technologies to safely and efficiently move waste out of the aging single-shell tanks and store it in newer double-shell tanks until it can be prepared for disposal.

Through innovation and hard work WRPS developed a new approach that allowed retrieval to resume ahead of schedule and at less than anticipated cost. Since the beginning of waste removal from Hanford’s single-shell tanks, a total of seven tanks have been emptied. Six meet the criteria of the Tri-Party Agreement that governs cleanup and the seventh is under review. In addition, waste has been removed to the limits of technology in six additional tanks and reviews are under way to determine the best course of action to remove the remaining waste.