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Another step in the effort to clean up Hanford’s massive nuclear waste problem .

20 years in the making, massive nuclear plant takes final steps to treating Hanford waste, Tri City Herald BY ANNETTE CARY  23 Nov 21 The massive Hanford vitrification plant now is in its final phase of work before it starts operating to treat some of the nuclear reservation’s radioactive tank waste. The Department of Energy announced Tuesday that the startup testing phase for treating low activity radioactive waste at the $17 billion plant was complete, following completion of plant construction around the first of the year.
Now Hanford workers can shift all of their focus to commissioning, taking the final steps to demonstrate that the plant works before it starts treating radioactive waste by late 2023………………………….

Commissioning includes operating the plant with a nonradioactive simulant of the waste it was built to treat, before radioactive waste is piped to the plant in about two years. Construction on the plant started in 2002 with a plan to turn much of the 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste stored in underground tanks into a stable glass form for disposal.

The waste is left from producing nearly two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War at the 580-square-mile site near Richland in Eastern Washington………….

The plant is not required under a federal court order to be fully operational, treating both high level and low activity waste, until 2036. But the court-set deadline for treating low activity waste is the end of 2023, although DOE may be given some additional time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed some work…………

The containers of low activity radioactive waste will be disposed of at a nearby lined landfill, Hanford’s Integrated Disposal Facility.

November 25, 2021 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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