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Hanford, WA: Monunental Cleanup at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site

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posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 09:00 AM
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Simply stunning!
Who knew or cared about the nuclear waste being created in this country.
Waste that has been going on since scientists first created a nuclear bomb during World War II.
A cleanup that once started will take 30 years.
It's never been done before and no one knows precisely if it will even work.

The project is over budget and will not begin until 2019, despite efforts to have it up and running last year.

Almost 200 tanks of nuclear waste...tanks that are now beginning to leak.
www.usatoday.com...


Seven decades after scientists came here during World War II to create plutonium for the first atomic bomb, a new generation is struggling with an even more daunting task: cleaning up the radioactive mess.

The U.S. government is building a treatment plant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of waste left from a half-century of nuclear weapons production. The radioactive sludge is so dangerous that a few hours of exposure could be fatal. A major leak could contaminate water supplies serving millions across the Northwest. The cleanup is the most complex and costly environmental restoration ever attempted.



The volume of waste, its complex mix of highly radioactive and toxic material, the size of the processing facilities — all present technical challenges with no proven solution. The plant is as big as the task: a sprawling, 65-acre compound of four giant buildings, each longer than a football field and as tall as 12 stories high.

The plant will separate the waste's high- and low-level radioactive materials, then blend them with compounds that are superheated to create a molten glass composite — a process called "vitrification." The mix is poured into giant steel cylinders, where it cools to a solid form that is safe and stable for long-term storage — tens of thousands of glass tubes in steel coffins.


further reading:
www.loe.org...

youtu.be...

Previous threads on ATS about Hanford, WA:
Earthquake Swarms (280) at Largest Nuclear Waste Dump in Western Hemisphere - Washington State
EPA Fines Energy Department $1 Million Over Violations At Hanford Nuclear Site
Swarm of Quakes Bedevil Hanford, Wash
Area 51 Decoy Now, Real Activity Hanford Washington, Confirmed
Radioactive wasps of Hanford

edit on Sat Feb 4 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: embed video

edit on Sat Feb 4 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: fixed links




posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 09:44 AM
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I saw a sunset the other day over the river on a cloudy sky that lit up all the colors of the spectrum... it was stunning.

I watched a herd of 9 deer playing in the neighbor's field last week as I pulled out the driveway... it was stunning.

Not far from me, there is a road that goes directly through a gorge... the view is stunning.

But tanks of leaking nuclear waste in an earthquake-ridden, overloaded, disrepaired nuclear waste facility? Not my definition of stunning, sorry.

First of all, I have to point out before someone goes into hysterics that this is not simply nuclear power waste... it is nuclear weapons waste. Similar, yes, but far more concentrated and more dangerous than what is left over from power production. The really bad part is that it has been stored here for so long... since WWII! Apparently someone in the US military forgot the old adage that a job is never complete until it is cleaned back up.

We do have ideas of how to clean up nuclear waste... neutron bombardment can reduce its effective life to mere days, but it is extremely expensive... we have rockets to blast it into space, and aiming one of those toward the sun would make sure it is lost amid the already-energetic mass. We could even rethink Newt's proposal and send it to the moon, where it can decay in peace away from so many fragile life-forms. But all of these ideas are expensive.

We do have the money. But we simply spend it on other things. We spend it on black ops projects, expensive studies that do little more than pad the pockets of grant-writers, enforcing silly, sometimes even stupid, legislation, and paying people to not work. All the while, this little secret has been festering under our noses. Now, in the midst of an economic depression and a debt crisis, it's time to pay the piper.

I will repeat my earlier statements that nuclear energy is safe, relatively clean, and our best choice to produce energy today, if done with a little common sense and engineering reality. But I also believe in cleaning up one's mess. The cost of cleanup (not simply burial) of the waste must be included in the cost of nuclear power or nuclear weaponry from the start... unless we are all OK with catching 3-eyed fish and glowing in the dark.

TheRedneck



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 09:48 AM
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Oh wow.

If the Cascadia seismic zone generates a M8.5+ quake, this facility could potentialky be impacted. Not a good thing to have to think about, but one that does need consderation.

I also took a quick look in google earth and noticed that there are quite a few circular farms in the vicnity of Hanford, Wa, all surrounding the site. I wonder what is grown in those farms around the plants?



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:10 AM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 



A cleanup that once started will take 30 years.
It's never been done before and no one knows precisely if it will even work.

The project is over budget and will not begin until 2019, despite efforts to have it up and running last year.

Almost 200 tanks of nuclear waste...tanks that are now beginning to leak.


Over budget, and only going to get more expensive as time goes by.
200 tanks of nuclear waste, leaking now ( what is "beginning" to leak
)

Project will not begin for 7 more years..........WHAT??!!??


And no one knows if the cleanup will even work?



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:13 AM
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reply to post by jadedANDcynical
 




I also took a quick look in google earth and noticed that there are quite a few circular farms in the vicnity of Hanford, Wa, all surrounding the site. I wonder what is grown in those farms around the plants?



That might be a good idea to find out. Hopefully it's something that absorbs radiation, and not some type of food that they're selling to the public.

They would be smarter than that, right?
edit on 4-2-2012 by snowspirit because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


I live a mere hop, step, and a jump from Hanford. This has been a less than open secret for decades... Only now is something being done.

Look up "downwinder" in regards to this...and you may understand why this has been a major point of contention in govt. circles for years. My mother was one of the victims, along with probably several thousand others over the years. Oh, yes, it's time and past.

For those who may not know, or even care; I suppose. Hanford sits on the banks of the Columbia River, and this leakage, should it get into the aquifer would be, or could be, catastrophic.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:31 AM
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reply to post by snowspirit
 


They would be smarter than that,right?


Did you really just ask that question?

Think about who you're talking about here...



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:32 AM
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I live in Pullman,wa..scary stuff here...
source

Hanford was a small agricultural community in Benton County, Washington, United States. It was evacuated in 1943 along with the town of White Bluffs in order to make room for the nuclear production facility known as the Hanford Site. The town was located in what is now the "100F" sector of the site. The original town, named for the judge and irrigation company president Cornelius Hanford,[1] was settled in 1907 on land bought by the local power and water utility. In 1913, the town had a spur railroad link to the transcontinental Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, also known as 'the electric railroad.' By 1925 the town was booming thanks to high agricultural demand, and it boasted a hotel, bank, and its own elementary and high schools. The town was condemned by the Federal government to make way for the Hanford site. Residents were given a thirty day eviction notice on March 9, 1943.[1] Most buildings were destroyed, with the notable exception of the high school. It was used during WWII as the construction management office. The school still stands today, marred by its use during the years for SWAT practice, and can be seen from the Hanford tour bus operated by the U.S. government. [edit] References



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by jadedANDcynical
reply to post by snowspirit
 


They would be smarter than that,right?


Did you really just ask that question?

Think about who you're talking about here...


I know

Talking about an organization (government ?) that would wait 7 years after they've discovered nuclear waste has begun to leak, to begin a cleanup, that it sounds like they think they cannot afford.......
:shk:



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
But tanks of leaking nuclear waste in an earthquake-ridden, overloaded, disrepaired nuclear waste facility? Not my definition of stunning, sorry.


Stunning was the only word that would come to me.

I'm stunned that it took so long to decide a cleanup was needed.
I'm stunned anyone....even in the 40s....would have nuclear materials near a water supply like the Columbia River.
I'm stunned it won't even be begun to be cleaned up until 2019.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 11:42 AM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


There've been some half ass attempts at quantifying what it'll take to clean it up... The state is apoplectic at the run around it's been getting from the feds.

Washington state, obviously, can not even begin to afford what this will ultimately take. The only entity that has this sort of money is the federal govt., and much as I hate to rely on the federal govt. for anything...

2019 is the latest date... It was supposed to have been done by now, fifteen years ago... So, don't anyone hold their breath.

It'll cost billions, billions that politicians, including one's from Washington state, will feel should be spent elsewhere. The only one's with any consistency of opinion are the Reps. from the two or three most effected areas around Hanford, and downstream...

The next couple of decades are going to see a run of court cases involving the clean up. The state attempting to hurry things along, and the feds obfuscating as much as possible. Junk science will be quoted... Those of us who suspect the truth of the matter will be derided as kooks and doomsayers. Meanwhile, three cities (Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick) along with many smaller towns and farms, stand to be devastated should the worse happen. I'm not saying it has...but it damned sure will eventually.

Much as the feds want this to go away? It ain't going to. Not in my lifetime.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 03:05 PM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


This is seriously sobering and giving me goosebumps. Does nobody behind the creation and perpetuation of the War Machine economy not care even a little?

And then there's the depleted uranium being 'recycled' in foreign targets. I recently watched an interview with the author of Damned Nations (sorry I forget the name) who said that among many others, Canada's Pension fund and the Teacher's Union are heavily invested in the armament industry. I suppose they have invested in other things too, but this psychopathic need to create wars in order to use and create more armaments in order to create an economy and power really makes me weep deeply inside and unto my cheeks for all of humanity. The ending just can't be good.

Sorry to sound glum. On some other days I enter a bubble of optimism and dare to hope that things will somehow work out.
edit on 4-2-2012 by aboutface because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-2-2012 by aboutface because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 04:28 PM
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reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


So I went on a littlefishing expidition over at Information Bridge: DOE Scientific and Technical Information and found myself with a few interesting catches:

Department of Energy – Office of Science Pacific Northwest Site Office Environmental MonitoringPlan for the DOE-SC PNNL Site

In this document can be found the following excerpt:


The primary pathway for movement of radionuclides from the DOE-SC PNNL Site to the public is the atmosphere. As of 2011, other pathways were determined not to be relevant, such as surface water and groundwater pathways, and the air pathway is only evaluated for particulate releases (Barnett et al. 2010). The significance of a pathway is determined from measurements and calculations that estimate the amounts of radioactive materials transported along the pathway, and by comparing contaminant concentrations, or potential doses, to environmental and public health protection standards or guides. A pathway can also be evaluated based on prior studies and observations of radionuclide movement through the environment and food chains. Calculations based on effluent data show the expected contaminant concentrations off the DOE-SC PNNL Site to be low for all potential radioactive air emissions and could frequently be below the levels detectable by current measurement technologies. For radionuclides released from major and minor emissions units, air concentrations at levels of significance for dose impacts are at detectable levels.
emphasis mine

In other words, they aren't even going to test water transport.

And

International low level waste disposal practices and facilities

Which has the following in it's pages:



Hanford Site waste accounts for nearly two-thirds by volume of the nuclear waste in the DOE complex. The site contains vast amounts of both radioactive and hazardous wastes. Currently, about 10 percent of Hanford Site©s waste is radioactive, and 75 percent of the site's waste is contaminated with both radioactive and hazardous components. The most abundant contaminants are tritium, carbon tetrachloride, chromium, nitrates, cobalt, strontium, cesium, technetium, iodine, plutonium, and uranium. The disposal facilities at the Hanford Site are operated by the Waste Management (200 Area Burial Grounds) and the Environmental Restoration program. As of 2008, more than 3.9 million m3 of LLW has been disposed of, which is only about 17 percent of the total estimated available disposal volume, leaving nearly 20 million m3 for future waste disposal (IAEA 2011a).


And

First Quarter Hanford Seismic Report for Fiscal Year 2011


Studies have concluded that earthquakes can occur in the following six different tectonic environments (earthquake sources) at the Hanford Site (Geomatrix 1996): • Major Geologic Structures. Reverse/thrust faults in the CRBG associated with major anticlinal ridges such as Rattlesnake Mountain, Yakima Ridge, and Umtanum Ridge could produce some of the largest earthquakes. • Secondary Faults. These faults are typically smaller (1 to 20 km in length) than the main reverse/ thrust faults that occur along the major anticlinal ridges (up to 100 km in length). Secondary faults can be segment boundaries (tear faults) and small faults of any orientation that formed along with the main structure.

Etc.


Yeah, this sounds like a big ol' stinking mess.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 05:48 PM
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I live in western Washington but I have driven through the Tri-cities area. A lot of the agricultural products seem to be vinyards for the delightful wines the area produces. The last bottle of Reisling I bought glowed in the dark. Really cool effect.

Seriously though, the whole area is a total failure on the part of the US. I was reading about the glassification plant (I think thats what it is) being years behind schedule-using technology that might not even exist.

As a side note, I plan on visiting Reactor B, the world's second nuclear reactor. The unit still stands and is open for tours a few times a year. I imagine I will see the ghosts of Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller. Then I will tell them how disappointed I am at their shot sightedness.

Oh well.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 06:52 PM
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reply to post by aboutface
 





Sorry to sound glum. On some other days I enter a bubble of optimism and dare to hope that things will somehow work out.


They will. When the idiots realize that it needs to be done, they'll do it. Doesn't mean, however, that there won't be a lot of needless stupidity along the way.

That's why we, as citizens, need to be on top of this. We can't let them brush this aside, or delay, or otherwise obfuscate matters.

...and that requires involvement by us.

All your representatives have contact addresses. Email addresses. Voicemail. As do newspaper editorial staffs, and other media outlets. There are public forums to raise these concerns. Use them. Create a blizzard of concern that they can't, upon peril of their careers, ignore.

Involvement.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by seagull
 


Absolutely. We must be involved, (although I realize that did not come through in my post.) I used the phone and email last year and it got me onto some list that resulted in my being photographed, identified, tailed, then 'accidentally' confronted and intimidated by security agents. And being single, female and unarmed, it can be quite unnerving, though luckily I knew the dance, having been married and widowed by one of them. So I danced too and it reached a point when even the agents agreed through their body language when I said that some leaders are just plain lousy and make dangerous decisions that affect us all. I haven't run into them since.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 09:07 PM
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So 56 million gallons of nuclear waste cleanup is just from nuclear weapons production...

I wonder how many millions of gallons of waste has been produced from the hundreds of nuclear plants dotted around the country over the past 30+ years ?

Mind boggling indeed.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 10:29 PM
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Ok............. I do live in the Tri-Cities, and Hanford is literally in our back yard. Yes, the VIT plant is way behind schedule, but there have been a LOT of comments I cannot agree with. First off, We are the only ones in the whole STATE that are NOT affected by the recession. (Why I cannot imagine, it really sucks at the moment.)

Secondly.... There is an epidemic of thyroid problems here. I have been struggling for years because of this, but they claim no blame for it AT ALL..... it is considered a genetic thing, not an environmental one.

There are a LOT of abnormalities around the "area" that they KNOW are from leaking radiation but won't admit to, they have made a big deal about it in the past, and that's WHY the vitrification plant was brought here.

To me, when you throw away a pair of "contaminated" anything that is way overcharged in the first place after 2 minutes of use, that is a complete waste.

I could go on and on, if you want to know more, please ask. Tri Cities is a great place to live, but YES..... it can be scary as hell! If you would like, I can post lots of links from the local paper on this subject
Just let me know!
edit on 4-2-2012 by freespirit1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 01:07 AM
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Originally posted by snowspirit
reply to post by jadedANDcynical
 




I also took a quick look in google earth and noticed that there are quite a few circular farms in the vicnity of Hanford, Wa, all surrounding the site. I wonder what is grown in those farms around the plants?



That might be a good idea to find out. Hopefully it's something that absorbs radiation, and not some type of food that they're selling to the public.

They would be smarter than that, right?
edit on 4-2-2012 by snowspirit because: (no reason given)


Here's a quick screen grab from google maps:


(click thumbnail to enlarge)

You can clearly see the proximity to one of the reactor sites to the river and the farms here.

More from Department of Energy – Office of Science Pacific Northwest Site Office Environmental MonitoringPlan for the DOE-SC PNNL Site:


Biota (aquatic animals, terrestrial plants, and terrestrial animals) require protection from adverse impacts of radiological emissions under DOE Order 458.1. Biota dose evaluations could be conducted using the DOE Technical Standard, A Graded Approach for Evaluating Radiation Doses to Aquatic and Terrestrial Biota (DOE 2002). Environmental pathways important to biota dose determinations typically result from sampling soil, sediment, and water. It was determined through a Data Quality Objective process (Barnett et al. 2010) that only air sampling was relevant for the DOE-SC PNNL Site at this time. Therefore, neither biota sampling nor biota dose evaluations are performed at present. The results of the pathway analysis and exposure assessment serve as the bases for future years’ surveillance program designs.
emphasis mine

So they are not testing animals or plants that are in the area that form a potential pathway for contamination to spread.



posted on Feb, 5 2012 @ 01:14 AM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Im sorry, but with the fact that shooting a rocket into space has a greater the 0% chance of something going wrong, I wouldn't want to deal with that kind of mess.



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