Thursday, December 23, 2010

On the move...again.

This is a post written by Tim about our latest big news:

On January 1, Jessica and I will be embarking on the next adventure of our lives.  We will board a plane headed to Richland, WA (part of the Tri-Cities area which also includes Kennewick and Pasco) so that I can begin a new position as a Project Controls Engineer for Bechtel National, Inc.  We are very excited about the possibilities this job affords our family, and are heartbroken that we can’t bring our friends and family along.  

I will be working on the Hanford Vitrification Project just north of Richland.  My duties will include:

Supports cost estimating, analysis, and control activities and schedule development, maintenance, reporting, and monitoring activities, as directed. For a large project or staff group, duties encompass a variety of tasks, but remain within parameters established by the procedure or process being supported. For a medium project staff group, duties encompass a variety of tasks that are required to support the project/group.

In short, I don’t know exactly what I will be asked to help with.  It could be in one or all of the above categories.

The project is funded by the Department of Energy, and its purpose is to stabilize the nuclear waste left from the refining of plutonium during World War II and the Cold War.  Should any nuclear waste seep into the Yakima or Columbia River, there would be lots of farmland left without irrigation, and the ecosystem could be wrecked.  In Bechtel’s words:

In southeastern Washington state, Bechtel National, Inc. is designing, constructing and commissioning the world’s largest radioactive waste treatment plant for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). When complete, the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) will process and stabilize 53 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste currently stored at the Hanford Site.
The WTP will use vitrification technology, which involves blending the waste with glass-forming materials and heating it to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,149 degrees Celsius). The mixture is then poured into stainless steel canisters to cool and solidify. In this glass form, the waste is stable and impervious to the environment, and its radioactivity will dissipate over hundreds to thousands of years.
The WTP Project is equivalent to building two nuclear power plants. Its construction site spans 65 acres and includes four major nuclear facilities -- Pretreatment, Low-Activity Waste Vitrification, High-Level Waste Vitrification and Analytical Laboratory. Construction began in October 2001, and, in late 2009, the plant surpassed the 50-percent complete mark.
Construction is expected to be complete in 2016, and, following commissioning, the plant will be operational in the fall of 2019.

The "High Waste Building"
I’m personally excited about the opportunity to work on a site of this scale.  It is a little daunting, but when my career is over I want to be able to look back and be proud of being a part of projects that were so much larger than individuals or companies.  Bechtel has a reputation of taking on many historic engineering and construction jobs, and I’m excited to join a company that doesn’t set limits on its capabilities.  Some of Bechtel’s projects include the Hoover dam, the “Big Dig” also known as the Ted Williams Hwy in Boston, and the “Chunnel” or car tunnel under the English Channel. 

As for the move, Jessica and I will fly out of Atlanta at 8:20 a.m. January 1, 2011.  We will be routed through Salt Lake City, and then on to the Tri-Cities area (Richland, Kennewick, Pasco).  Once there, Bechtel has arranged for us to stay in a hotel for up to two months as we search for a permanent place to live.  The project has the rental market almost completely full, and we pray that we’ll have a simple transition into a new home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment