Tom oversees the design of the massive Hanford Vit Plant as the production engineering manager. He is responsible for implementing more than 11,000 technical requirements into the design of nuclear facility. It’s a monumental job, but after spending the majority of his 35-year career in the nuclear industry, Tom is the right person for it.
When operational, the Vit Plant will process Hanford’s radioactive and chemical waste into a solid glass form that is safe and stable for the environment. The nature of the waste, a legacy of World War II and the Cold War, means designing the plant requires the same rigor that applies to nuclear power plants. Fortunately, Tom has worked on eight nuclear power plants across the United States in various phases of their life cycles--from design through operations.
“Nuclear construction means taking quality to a higher level than any other type of construction,” Tom says. “We are responsible for ensuring the public, workers, and the environment are protected during operations, and we do not take that lightly. We are committed to proving through our documentation that every part and piece is what we say it is and meets the requirements we say it meets. That is what nuclear quality is all about--doing it right and proving you did it right.”
As the focus for the project shifts toward completing direct feed low-activity waste (DFLAW), Tom recalls why he enjoys his work.
We complete the big, complex jobs, and that is exactly what we are going to do here.
It’s exciting to see projects through to completion, and that is what Bechtel is known for.
WHAT IS DIRECT FEED LOW-ACTIVITY WASTE?
- Part of the Department of Energy’s sequenced approach to treating Hanford’s tank wastes.
- In this process, low-activity radioactive waste from Hanford tank farms is fed directly to the Low-Activity Waste Facility, bypassing the Pretreatment Facility.
- For more information on Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste, see www.hanfordvitplant.com/direct-feed-low-activity-waste-dflaw.