Environmental Protection

Cold Jet Supplies Dry Ice, Blast Cleaning for Hanford Plant

Wagstaff Applied Technologies, a subcontractor to Bechtel National, Inc., selected Cold Jet to provide two customized integrated dry ice blasting and production systems for the Hanford Nuclear Waste Treatment Plant in Hanford, Wash.

Bechtel is designing, constructing, and commissioning the waste treatment plant to dispose of the world's largest concentration of radioactive waste, leftover from U.S. weapons production efforts during the Cold War era.

The waste will be vitrified by blending it with molten glass and placing it in stainless steel canisters to ensure hundreds to thousands of years of stable and impermeable storage. The integrated blasting and pelletizer systems will be part of an automatic weld inspection system installed in the sites Low Activity Waste Facility. The carbon dioxide pelletizer will automatically feed the blasting systems, which will clean the welds made to fasten the end caps of the steel canisters so that the welds can be inspected for leaks. The waste treatment facility and the equipment are expected to be operational for 40 years.

"This project represents the epitome of a 'green' application for Cold Jet," said Gene Cooke, chief executive officer of the company. "We have undertaken years of research and development to meet the stringent standards and requirements that were defined in the original request for this project. The fact that we were selected demonstrates the confidence that our partners have in our technology to support the largest waste clean-up project in our nation's history for many years to come. We are proud to be a part of this project, which will help to contain the waste and prevent further contamination of the groundwater that threatens the Columbia River and the people downstream."

The dry ice production equipment has been engineered to produce the highest density extruded dry ice available, which results in longer shelf life, better transportability, and better blasting aggression. For more than 20 years, the company's dry ice blast cleaning systems have proven to provide consistent performance and durability. The dry ice blast cleaning involves accelerating dry ice pellets at supersonic speeds using compressed air. Once the dry ice pellets hit the surface being cleaned, they sublimate without creating secondary waste. The environmentally responsible process is non-toxic, non-abrasive, and non-conductive.

Hanford was home to nine reactors during the Cold War era with a mission to produce plutonium for new atomic weapons. While plutonium production stopped many years ago, the site is now home to more than 53 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste stored underground in 177 underground tanks, which were only designed to last for 20 years.

Cold Jet LLC is a private company with headquarters in Loveland, Ohio and international operations in Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, and Mexico.

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