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Phase 1 of vitrification facility demolition completed

ASHFORD—After months of work, the CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC team has completed phase one of demolition at the vitrification facility at the West Valley Demonstration Project.

Phase one of the demolition, which started in September, consisted of removing the outer sheet metal and steep portions of the vitrification facility with the least amount of radiological contamination. With special tools and equipment, the crew at the WVDP tore down three sides of the facility, which consisted of operating aisles, a control room, restrooms, truck bays, stairways and tool and equipment storage rooms. Workers also completed deactivating the building’s utility system before demolition.


“It feels great. We are problem solvers here. We looked at it and our first main goal is to perform all our work safely and compliantly,” West Valley Demonstration Project Communications Manager Joseph Pillittere said. “The work we have accomplished to date … really demonstrates our commitment to safety and environmental stewardship.”

The vitrification facility at the WVDP was used to solidify 600,000 gallons of high-level radioactive waste from 1996 to 2002.

In the next phase of the demolition project, Pillittere said crews will work on the demolition of the reinforced concrete process cell, shield doors and the structure’s south wall. While the cell contains higher levels of radiological contamination than areas previously demolished, Pillittere said the workers have done a great job so far and will continue to do the job efficiently and safely for everyone.

“We have a really good team that does the work not just diligently but methodically. The idea is that we plan for the work and then we work the plan,” Pillittere said. “We are dealing with construction and radiological conditions … the idea is to work safely, communication, pre-planning, pre-job briefings and everything that is going to lend to not only getting the work done, but getting that work done safely and with the environment in mind.”

With the vitrification facility, the project is expected to be completed by March 2018. Demolition on the vitrification facility is around 45 percent completed and deactivation on the main plant is around 79 percent complete.

Pillittere said completing the demolition of the vitrification facility and the main plant process building is one of the four major milestones within the contract for WVDP Phase 1 Decommissioning Facilities Disposition awarded in 2011. The other milestones include relocating 275 high-level waste canisters and three non-conforming high-level waste canisters to a long-term interim storage facility, which was completed last year, processing, shipping and disposal of all legacy waste, which is around 86 percent complete and the balance of site facilities, in which 47 facilities need to be removed from the West Valley Demonstration Project with 19 already completed.

For more information on the progress of the West Valley Demonstration Project, visit


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