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Hanford, WA: Monunental Cleanup at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site

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posted on Feb, 8 2012 @ 08:32 AM
reply to post by jadedANDcynical

I remember when I was young, we used to swim in the "lagoon".... which now is a family fishing pond, after YEARS of being totally closed down. They said it was a bacteria in the water that was hazardous... Now I'm wondering if it was really contaminated by something else........

The river here (Columbia) has always been a source of summer entertainment... but I won't go near it anymore after seeing/reading about the mutated fish, frogs and other animals around.

Can you imagine what's in our drinking water here? Oh, and lately there have been several people I know that have been diagnosed with some sort of cancer... a lot of melanomas going around, wonder why?

posted on Feb, 10 2012 @ 01:29 PM

A proposed natural gas pipeline under the Columbia River to central Hanford could save taxpayer money and reduce greenhouse gases.

But there also were concerns about safety, spreading Hanford contamination and affects on wildlife raised at a Department of Energy meeting Thursday night in Pasco to take comments on what should be considered in a proposed environmental study.

Concerns heard at hearing about natural gas pipeline for central Hanford

The proposed pipeline does have many benefits attatched to it, but there are a couple of concerns raised in the article that I would like to highlight:

However, Daniel Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper said a planned pipeline of up to 20 inches is unreasonably large and increases the chances of problems when it is installed under the river.

Drilling also is more likely to fail the deeper the pipeline is installed, he said.

If drilling fails, mud can clog the river and damage salmon habitat, he said.

This brings to mind the potential seismic activity in the area, especially the discussions in TrueAmerican's thread, "West Coast USA: Pay Attention, Cascadia May Be Ready to Rupture"

And the. There is this;

In addition, Franklin County property owners who might be affected, including at the staging area required for the drilling under the river, should have been personally invited to the meeting, Serres said.

Here we have an example of government and business not even considering the people who could be directly affected by the construction of the pipeline. This indicates to me a smaller likelihood of their consideration of the population at large.

And I have seen this first hand recently (see the "Historic Tree" thread in my signature), so I know it's an attitude that is endemic to governments of all levels.

posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 01:59 PM

This brings to mind the potential seismic activity in the area, especially the discussions in TrueAmerican's thread, "West Coast USA: Pay Attention, Cascadia May Be Ready to Rupture"
reply to post by jadedANDcynical

We are actually on the other side of the state, while there IS some seismic activity here recently, we are not directly on the Cascadia fault. I am sure that if there were to be a "big one" we would feel it though.

posted on Feb, 15 2012 @ 01:46 PM

Those of you more local may already know about this, but it was news to me. The following is excerpted from a transcript of an NPR radio broadcast:

ANNA KING, BYLINE: Builders didn't have the final blueprints when they broke ground on Hanford's treatment plant about 10 years ago. They still don't. It's a sprawling complex of high-rise buildings growing out of the desert sagebrush and sand.

The $12 billion facility is a little more than half-built, but it's still being designed. Scott Samuelson oversees the project for the Department of Energy.

SCOTT SAMUELSON: Design build is the course that was selected a long time ago with how to do this.

KING: Now, it's not clear if design build was the best plan. The hope was the design-as-you-build would help clean up the 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge faster, but now, federal watchdog agencies are calling into question the way the project's been handled. They're worried about key components of the plant, like its pipes and mixing tanks.

Now, I fully understand the sentiment of wanting to begin work on the cleanup of this facility as quickly as possible, but it seems to me that you would want to ensure that the building in which the waste will be processed would be the most efficient and effective method used especially considering the fact that these waste products are as dangrous as they are for extremely long time spans.

Thinking about the possibility that the work that has been done thus far and the money that has been spent ($12 billion) might all be flushed down the drain just makes me shake my head in wonder.

Washington Nuclear Cleanup Project Under Scrutiny


Elsewhere is the following report:

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford Nuclear Reservation managers say they have contained a few drips of radioactive condensation found near a waste container.


Last week, someone doing routine monitoring recorded some gamma radiation from the area. The Department of Energy has applied a fixative to drips to prevent any of the radioactive particles from moving or becoming airborne.

"Our job is to make sure that the waste is stored safely and to test it all the time to make sure we are not seeing anything out the ordinary," says Cameron Hardy, a spokesman for the Department of Energy. "So this is a very routine thing for us to do and everything got taken care of."

So fixing leaks has become "a very routine thing" implying the leaks that require fixing are routine as well. No surprise there, I suppose, but it does serve to highlighting problem and shows that this is something that needs addressing. story entitled "Small Radiation Leak Contained At Hanford"

posted on Feb, 16 2012 @ 09:05 AM
Here is a video from the paper today:

Sorry, don't know how to embed

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 12:57 PM
Something's rotten in Denmark:

Energy agency seeks dismissal of Hanford whistle-blower lawsuit

The Department of Energy is asking that a Hanford whistle-blower lawsuit filed against it be dismissed.

Walter Tamosaitis, the former manager of research and technology at the Hanford vitrification plant, filed a lawsuit in Eastern Washington District U.S. Court in November.

He has alleged since summer 2010 that he was removed from the project for raising technical concerns that could affect the safe operation of the plant, which will process high-level radioactive waste for disposal. His employer, URS, says that is not why he was reassigned and that the change had been planned for some time because Tamosaitis' assigned work was coming to an end.

I mnow work contracts (espoiecially those subbed out) enerally have end dates attached to them, but I ave been under the impression that the end of a contract would be stipulated efoyre the contract is even signed. I suppose there could beopen ended contracts in which no firm end date is called for, but even in that circumstance wouldn't the one being affected be informed ahead of time?

"DOE is dedicated to continual efforts at improving nuclear safety and nuclear safety culture at (the vit plant) and all its facilities," the Department of Justice said in a legal document. "But DOE's sincere commitment does not render it subject to suit by individuals it does not employ; nor does its commitment make it subject to remedies not available under law."

Among other relief sought, Tamosaitis wants a federal judge to order DOE to develop a plan that ensures DOE managers balance the need to meet deadlines with sound science, and to develop procedures to include in contracts to prevent employees from being pressured to take positions not based on scientific principles.

Isn't this the same tactic BP usedin the Gulf Oil disaster? Claiming that it cannot be held responsible for what it's contractors or subcontractors do or do not do in the course of the job.

Sneaky sneaky...

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by jadedANDcynical

since no one knows how long a clean up is going to take...anyone who says they do is delusional.

As much as I want it cleaned up, I also want it done right, and safely. I don't see how they can have an end date for anything involving this clean a true end, or even as an estimate.

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 08:22 PM
reply to post by seagull

Oh, I completely agree that this task is incredibly important and should be done no matter how long it takes. 

It should also be done right the first time, rather than just kicked down the road for future generations. 

It sounds like this particular can is being kicked up to a higher level too:

Committee Considers Enhancing Whistleblower Protections 

January 27, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Recently, a bipartisan subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee heard compelling testimony from an employee of a government contractor who was removed from a government project for voicing concerns over safety. The hearing was held in conjunction with debate over a new bill that would solidify and even expand whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors.

As the law is written now, employees of contractors and their subcontractors are not offered the protection federal employees have in cases like this. This is how the DOE is able to sidestep what would otherwise be a clear case of retaliation (assuming the whistelblower's case has substance) in which someone is exposing a potential danger. 

Speaking of potential dangers:

Top Hanford Scientist Says Treatment Plant Pipes Not Strong Enough

RICHLAND, Wash. – Over the last two years we've brought you numerous stories about high-level whistleblowers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's nuclear waste treatment plant. It's one of the largest environmental cleanup projects on Earth. Now, yet another top expert there is risking his career to speak openly. He says the plant's vessels and pipes — as they're designed now — will leak radioactive waste within their planned lifespan.

This is just kicking the can down the road as any solution that will have to be revisited in a short time frame is not a permanent fix.

"I want to see us be successful," Alexander says. "And remove this problem that was created out here by people in my grandfather's generation."

Commendable, in fact his is the attitude which we need to make sure these issues don't come back to haunt us again in the same way they are now. 

"On a scale of 1 to 10, with the hardest metal being a 10, the one that can resist erosion the best being a 10, the metals that were selected for the plant are about a 2," he explains.

Here's why that's a problem: The sludge has a lot of heavy metals, abrasive particles and it's corrosive. It could eat holes in the metal. And Alexander says it could happen in the section of the plant that's sealed off from humans because it will be so radioactively hot.

So, they're using materials which will degrade in a short period of time (compared to the half life of the waste product) in areas which will be too dangerous to check routinely. Does this seem like a smart thing to do?

Does this guy know what he's talking about or is he an alarmist?

These concerns are not Alexander's alone. Experiments run for plant contractor Bechtel showed much more erosion in far less time than predicted by other scientists.

What's more, the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recently issued a report outlining similar concerns with the pipes and vessels.

Ok, the company which  is contracted to perform the clean up (which has a subcontractor that employes the whistleblower in the previous story) has research that shows this degradation of the metal could happen even sooner. 


Is this only now coming to the surface?

And the Department of Energy said in a statement, that it's aware of the concerns about pipe strength and continues to test the durability of the plant's materials.
But Alexander says he raised these issues years ago. Since then a lot of the pipes and vessels have been installed. Alexander says the longer project managers wait the more costly it will get to fix these issues.

"Everybody is saying everything is fine, everything is fine," he says. "Everything will be fine until we operate right?"

So, it "looks" ok, but don't try to use it...

More brilliance...

posted on Feb, 26 2012 @ 12:19 PM
reply to post by jadedANDcynical

More brilliance...

...and the hits just keep on coming, don't they?

At least he's out there long as he's doing that, the issues with in the greater issue can't be white washed away.

People are beginning to watch, or so it seems to me. Nothing but a good thing.

posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 08:56 AM
Nothing wrong with greasing the wheels a little, right?

Fluor purchasers agree to settlement for allegedly accepting kickbacks

Two more purchasers for former Hanford contractor Fluor Hanford have reached settlement agreements for allegedly accepting kickbacks.

Both accepted gifts from Fast Pipe and Supply Inc. owned by Shane Fast, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington. Fast, who has been indicted, called the investigation of the gifts he gave "a witch hunt."


He did not believe there was a problem with the practice, he said.

Fast has been indicted in Eastern Washington District U.S. Court for allegedly paying $40,000 in kickbacks to Hanford employees purchasing goods for use on the federal project.
emphasis mine

So there is nothing at all conflicted in giving gifts to people in charge of determining where to spend large amounts of federal money?

Fluor is a FORTUNE 500 company that delivers engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance (EPCM), and project management services to governments and clients in diverse industries around the world. Clients value Fluor's dependability, expertise, and safety to execute complex projects around the world. 

Fluor Corporate Information

This is nothing new, we are all familiar with how the system works and the attitude is that it's ok as long as you do t get caught out. Of course there are rules in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening, but just how strongly enforced are those rules?

Fines have been applied in the case referenced here, but is there an investigation to see if there this is widespread?

Looking at the "Similar Stories" linked in the news artie finds several more incidences of the same type with the same company (Fluor) so it seems to me to be an endemic problem.

edit on 8-3-2012 by jadedANDcynical because: Type not time

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 02:04 PM

Hanford contractors admit big safety problems remain

So many technical issues now plague a $12.2 billion plant that's supposed to rid the Hanford nuclear reservation of millions of gallons of radioactive waste that contractors told a federal panel Thursday they can't say how much waste it ultimately will treat.

So this treatment plant that has been under construction for over a decade (and not fully designed by the way) may not even be able to treat the amount of waste it as envisioned to do.

Just what is it that is causing such problems?

Even though the project is half-built, engineers acknowledged they still hadn't figured out how, once it is operational, they will keep waste stirred up so it doesn't spark a nuclear chain reaction.

So the waste is so concentrated, that it may spontaneously react?


How is it that this has come to pass?

But their answers still angered whistle-blowers who have complained that lead contractor Bechtel National and its subcontractors are way behind because their instinct has been to bury safety concerns — and punish those who raise them.

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts about this subject, the culture of hiding safety concerns is ingrained within the 'leadership' of the companies who are entrusted to ensure that safety is of paramount importance.

What does that lead to?

Without oversight by the safety board, Tamosaitis said, Bechtel "would have proceeded to build a plant that would not work."

So Bechtel would build a plant that does not do what it is meant to do and continue to charge the government (us) for performing this task. Talk about a no loose situation for them.

Asked by the chairman of the safety board how much waste will fall into that category, Dale Knutson, the Department of Energy's project director, said it was still too soon to say.

"As a personal opinion, I'm still convinced a vast majority of the waste will be treatable," he said.
emphasis mine

So now personal opinions are suitable reasons to continue bilking the people of the of their hard earned tax money so that a non-operational plant can be built and not do the job it was meant to? :down:

I'm in the wrong business entirely...

posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 01:46 PM
The Plutonium Gang

Before entering the shuttered Plutonium Finishing Plant at the Hanford Site, Jerry Long hangs his identification badge on a board outside the entrance, so rescue crews can easily figure out who’s inside, should it come to that. “This is a no-kidding hazardous category 2 nuclear facility,” says Long as he enters a brightly lit room furnished with rows of metal chairs and benches. The U.S. Department of Energy reserves that category for sites that might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a “criticality event.”

Thought i would share.


Holy #.

So first, these guys got some major balls to be doing this job. That sounds like some of the most dangerous stuff you could possibly do for work each day.

I do have to wonder about them transporting all this on trucks?? They drive this stuff somewhere in New Mexico to bury it....Dulce?
edit on 4-8-2013 by Thorneblood because: (no reason given)

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