The 242-A Evaporator is located in the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site and is critical to the safe management of Hanford's tank waste. It began operating in 1977 to reduce the volume of waste stored in Hanford's underground tanks.
The 242-A Evaporator is the only operating nuclear processing facility at Hanford. It operates under strict environmental regulations, stringent operational controls, and requires extensive maintenance and operator training to maintain the facility in a fully operable condition. In years where waste processing campaigns are not required to meet space management objectives, an evaporator "cold run" campaign is conducted using water instead of waste to ensure continued facility and systems operability, and to train and maintain the proficiency of operators.
Since it began operating in 1977, the Evaporator has reduced the total volume of waste in Hanford's tanks by 80 million gallons, helping avoid the high cost of building new waste storage tanks.