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SPOKANE — Work to demolish the former nuclear-weapons-production factory on the Hanford nuclear reservation may resume in September, about six months after it was halted when workers were exposed to radioactive particles, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday.
The agency will implement extra safety measures for workers demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant at Hanford, which is near Richland. The plant was involved in producing much of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Hanford officials issued a report in late March that said 42 Hanford workers inhaled or ingested radioactive particles when they were exposed during contamination events in June and December of this past year. Radioactive contamination was also found outside plant offices and inside two dozen vehicles, the report said.
In the December incident, private and government vehicles were contaminated with radiation, and some of them were driven into town.
What remains of the Hanford nuclear reservation’s highly contaminated Plutonium Finishing Plant is shown from the air this month. The blue color is from fixative sprayed to prevent radioactive contamination from becoming airborne.
The federal government is reining in the power of Bechtel National Industries to spend taxpayer dollars at the Hanford site in Eastern Washington by requiring many subcontracts to first get reviewed by Energy Department officials.
The restrictions follow a nationwide audit of Bechtel National by the Defense Contract Management Agency that found “concerns and deficiencies”in Bechtel projects for the federal government in Kentucky, Colorado and Tennessee as well as Hanford, where the corporation is the main contractor in a $17 billion project to design, construct and commission a treatment plant for radioactive wastes.
Until the federal government restores approvals for Bechtel, corporate employees must get consent from federal oversight officials for any purchase agreement
More of Hanford's newest waste storage tanks could be at risk of developing leaks, according to a new evaluation.
Tank farm contractor Washington River Protection Solutions compared the chemistry of the waste in the nuclear reservation's oldest double-shell tank, which was discovered to be leaking, to the waste in the nuclear reservation's other double-shell tanks.
The evaluation's conclusion and other findings about the condition of the Hanford Site's double-shell tanks suggest a need to build more waste storage tanks for 56 million gallons of waste, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.
A mosaic of images were fitted together to show the interior of the inner shell of Hanford Tank AY-102 after waste was removed to learn more about why the inner shell was leaking. Radioactive waste held in the tank is suspected of corroding the bottom of the inner shell and leaking into the space between the tank's shells. Courtesy Department of Energy
HANFORD, Wash. - The Department of Energy has announced Wednesday they plan to fill a Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX) tunnel on the Hanford Nuclear Site.
Tunnel 1 near PUREX had a partial collapse back in May of 2017 and engineers developed a plan to fill it with special grout, preventing another tunnel collapse.
Tunnel 2 is much longer, almost 1,700 feet long and filled with contaminated equipment.
That tunnel is also poised to possibly collapse soon. The DoE says it will take 5,000 truckloads of grout to fill that tunnel and prevent it from also collapsing.
The Peach orchards were common in the area, and wheat was a major crop as well.
originally posted by: Kharron
a reply to: jadedANDcynical
Grapes and apples mainly, but yes they have some good peaches too. Columbia Valley is one of the largest producers of wine in the country, comparable to Napa and Sonoma. Any radioactive seepage would be caught in the wine for those years as well, so it would be interesting to check the 2017 wines for the tunnel collapse signatures.
Also, a few years ago when the DOE found those tanks leaking they found that some have already leaked through both tanks and are now going into the rocks below it. Those rocks and the water running through them and over them all go to Columbia river. Columbia is used for drinking water, fishing and for recreation. If it were contaminated, that contamination could be moved down to more populated areas, including Portland, OR and Vancounver, WA.
Hanford is bad news. And I believe as the oldest one it's just an example of what will start happening with all the other ones across the States in the next decade or two. Nuclear fuel is bad business.
Medical records indicate low rates of folic acid vitamin supplementation in the region, which has been linked to anencephaly. Other studies have shown ties between the defect and exposure to molds and pesticides. Critics have said state and federal officials need to do detailed interviews and a thorough investigation of the central Washington cluster.
Many local residents are convinced that leaking tanks of nuclear waste from the region’s nearby Hanford nuclear plant must be to blame, but Dr. Edith Cheng, a University Washington Medicine expert on birth defects, said there has not been a good evaluation of the plant’s impact on anencephaly or other problems.
The possibility that radiation from Hanford or from the Fukushima nuclear disaster might have contributed to the cluster was similarly dismissed. Several other factors were also considered in the investigation.
RICHLAND, Wash. — The U.S. Senate has proposed a Hanford budget that is $315 million higher than proposed by the Trump administration. It would restore all but $25 million of the cuts to current spending that were proposed by the administration.