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New plan to clean up Hanford radioactive site

Feds adopt plans for disposing of nuclear waste Seattle Pi, By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press, December 12, 2013 SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy intends to retrieve nearly all the highly radioactive waste stored in underground tanks on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and convert it into a glass-like substance for permanent disposal, according to a decision that will be published Friday.

The decision covers the nation’s biggest collection of radioactive waste, held in 177 underground tanks at the sprawling reservation near Richland that has been engaged in environmental cleanup for the past two decades. The material is left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. The document said the Energy Department intends to retrieve 99 percent of the stored waste and close up the tanks. Some of the tanks date back to World War II and have leaked.

Hanford-waste-tanks

It’s necessary to remove the radioactive material to avoid future leaks into groundwater and other safety concerns, the decision says……..

The watchdog group Hanford Challenge criticized the decision to leave some 1 percent of the highly radioactive waste in the tanks.

“That’s 500,000 gallons or more,” said executive director Tom Carpenter. “We expect all of the waste from the tanks to be removed.”

The Energy Department said it also intends to dismantle the aboveground portions of the Fast Flux Test Facility reactor and “entomb” the underground portions of the closed research reactor……

The state agency and the EPA have a legal agreement with the Energy Department that sets deadlines to clean up the Hanford site, which is half the size of Rhode Island……http://www.seattlepi.com/business/energy/article/Feds-adopt-plans-for-disposing-of-nuclear-waste-5059175.php

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December 13, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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