HLMI provides analytical services to support cleanup mission

April 15, 2021, marked the official start of work for Hanford Laboratory Management and Integration LLC (HLMI) as a new prime contractor for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear waste cleanup efforts on the Hanford site.

To support DOE’s Hanford cleanup mission, HLMI assumed sole responsibility for operation of the 222-S Laboratory, a full-service accredited analytical radiochemical laboratory.

The laboratory is in the center of the Hanford site and has served the Hanford mission for more than 70 years.

Its original purpose was to provide process control analytical services in support of Hanford’s plutonium production mission. It then transitioned in the 1980s to the primary radiochemical lab supporting the Hanford site cleanup mission.

The lab has been modernized over the years through multiple infrastructure upgrades, and HLMI has incorporated new employee training programs to ensure the staff is uniquely qualified to safely handle the highly radioactive materials the lab is responsible for analyzing.

HLMI is a limited liability corporation formed by two small businesses, Navarro Research and Engineering Inc., and Advanced Technologies and Laboratories International Inc.

The combination of these companies provides HLMI with the human resources and capital to ensure we consistently provide high-quality data to other Hanford contractors in support of the site cleanup mission. We at HLMI are proud to be a valuable member of the One Hanford team providing low-risk solutions to the complex challenges associated with remediating the Hanford site.

Since contract inception, HLMI has supported critical Hanford operations with timely laboratory analysis and reporting, operated the facility in full compliance with environmental regulatory and permit requirements, and implemented improvements and efficiencies in waste minimization processes that have resulted in cost savings and reduced worker and environmental risks.

In addition, HLMI’s technical staff have developed innovative new processes to reduce turnaround times associated with the analysis and data reporting that support highly radioactive sampling projects. By doing so, HLMI is enabling the One Hanford mission to achieve its commitments to the community and stakeholders. Examples include performing characterization testing to ensure waste transfers can be performed safely and support a robust tank integrity program, and providing industrial hygiene sample analysis that assists in worker safety.

In the coming year, HLMI is especially excited to continue supporting Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program and preparations to treat tank waste by immobilizing it in a glass form, called vitrification.

Courtesy HLMI

One of the ways the lab is supporting those preparations is by producing small, laboratory scale batches of vitrified materials, using liquids that mimic the properties of tank waste that has been treated to remove radioactive cesium and solids.

A glass-forming mixture of materials and liquid simulants is heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit to produce a glass sample. Through this process, we’re able to verify that our people, equipment and processes are ready to support conducting small-batch tests with real waste from the large underground tank that will feed waste to the vitrification plant when treatment operations begin.

Don Hardy is lab manager at Hanford Laboratory Management
and Integration LLC.

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