Artist’s rendering of the new lab.
 
WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Vicki
Carwein speaks as the announcement
ceremony last week. (Photos by
Natalie Kinkel, WSU Tri-Cities)
RICHLAND, Wash. – EnergySolutions will donate a $3 million, 13,000-square-foot laboratory to Washington State University Tri-Cities. Construction will begin in October on seven acres of WSU land in Richland and is expected to be completed by summer 2012.
 
“We have a successful track record of building partnerships with universities and public-private businesses in creative commercial ventures,” EnergySolutions CEO Val Christensen of Salt Lake City announced last week in Richland.
 
WSU President Elson S. Floyd said he appreciates the opportunity for faculty and students to gain hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematical experiences with private industry. 
 
“We need creative solutions to confront the global workplace,” he said. “This will benefit the region and impact the nation and, if we do it properly, it will have global influence.”
 
University asset
 
EnergySolutions Federal EPC of Richland recently was awarded a subcontract from Bechtel National to conduct large-scale testing of the Hanford vitrification plant’s waste-mixing system. The building will feature a high bay that can accommodate large tanks. The testing will use non-radioactive waste simulants.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd, right, with CEOs
from EnergySolutions and NuVision Engineering
at ceremony last week.
“This is a large-scale testing facility for large-scale equipment,” Christensen said.
“A lot of the expertise we have to deal with such challenges around the world comes from here,” he said. “We expect this partnership will create value for our customer, a long-term asset for the university, and a platform for university professors and students to experience a real-life STEM learning environment.
 
“In this instance, we also have a minority partner with this gift to Washington State University – a long-time partner of ours, NuVision Engineering,” he said.
Tri-Cities an intellectual hub
 
Donating the laboratory building was inspired by Tom Yount, EnergySolutions executive vice president of Richland operations and a WSU Pullman graduate in construction management.
 
WSU Regent Scott Carson, a retired Boeing executive and passionate proponent of sustainable energy and biofuels, lauded the unique collaboration.
 
“I look at WSU Tri-Cities and see a critical link to the economy of the world, with some of the greatest minds and greatest opportunities,” he said. “The WSU Tri-Cities campus holds a special place inside the WSU system. It’s unique because of its location. It’s at the heart of one of the intellectual centers in the world.
 
“We need to excite young people about the opportunities the future holds for them so we don’t miss a single mind, a single intellect, that could change the world.”
 
Joins Tri-Cities Research District
 
The building, called the Energy Solutions Engineering Laboratory, will include 10,000 square feet of laboratory space and 3,000 square feet of office space. The site is across George Washington Way from the WSU Tri-Cities campus and is part of the Tri-Cities Research District.
 
The facility will be built by Fowler Construction of Richland to WSU requirements. Once donated, the building will be leased by EnergySolutions for 18 months for $10; the company then will have the option of extending the lease for one year at fair market value.