Called WRAP, the Waste Receiving and Processing Facility in Hanford’s 200 West Area was constructed to process drums and boxes of low-level waste and transuranic waste for permanent disposal. The containers which are sent to WRAP include those which were stored in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the Low-Level Burial Grounds with the intention to retrieve them at a later date.
WRAP crews inspect, treat, characterize, and re-package, if necessary, drums and boxes of waste that are removed from the burial grounds at the Site. Repacking occurs in “glove boxes” (see glove box definition) to protect employees from exposure to potentially radioactive materials.
Characterization work includes the process of x-raying the contents of each drum to determine what is inside, and documenting what is found. Technicians write down the contents of each drum and, in some cases, do a voice recording during the process where they give a kind of “play by play” of what they see as they x-ray the container. This kind of work is necessary to ensure that any waste sent to another location meets the acceptance criteria of the facility where the waste will be permanently disposed of as well as if the waste requires re-packaging.
Low-level waste that is processed at WRAP will be disposed of on the Hanford Site. Transuranic waste that is processed at WRAP will be shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for disposal.