Hanford

Poetry
11:34 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Kathleen Flenniken On Coming To Terms With Hanford

B Reactor at the Hanford nuclear site.
Credit Wikimedia

In childhood, our allegiances, our loves, are often black and white, simplistic. One of the difficult parts of becoming an adult is reconciling ourselves to the failings and flaws in what we have loved and admired. Sometimes the task involves recognizing our own complicity in those failings.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
11:54 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Gregoire’s Relationship With Hanford Long And Complex

State of Washington

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:23 pm

When Governor Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she’ll take with her nearly a quarter-century’s worth of expertise on one of the most contaminated places on earth. Cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been one of her top priorities. Before Gregoire was governor, she worked on Hanford issues as the state’s attorney general and before that as ecology director.

Gregoire knows cleaning up Hanford is no easy task. She’s been involved longer than many of the top federal site managers. And despite all of the problems and complexities she’s still optimistic.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
9:42 am
Thu December 6, 2012

New Federal Plan On Hanford Tank Farms Coming Soon

US Department of Energy

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 7:24 am

RICHLAND, Wash. – The federal government plans to release a major document early next week that could guide a couple of decades worth of cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This is important because it maps out decisions like where to bury the radioactive waste, and how much to leave in place.

The new document is huge -- 6,000 pages huge. And it’s taken about 10 years to draft.

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Environment
7:51 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Hanford Managers Mull Solutions For Leaky Tanks

Workers empty a radioactive waste tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Photo courtesy of Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:31 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Some of the decisions made over the last 40 years at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are coming back to haunt the site’s current managers. A new report out this week examined why a double-hulled tank of radioactive waste recently sprung a leak in its inner shell. That has raised the possibility of having to pump out the waste from the tank.

The tank is called AY-102. And it’s about the size of a house. It’s buried in the sandy soil north of Richland.

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Environment
8:59 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Hanford Officials Prepare For Worst With Leaking Tank

Routine periodic visual monitoring (via camera) of the AY-102 annulus found material that was never before seen. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:53 am

RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are readying pumping equipment at a slow-leaking radioactive waste tank in case the leak gets worse. A newly released report details why the tank became unstable.

Hanford officials say so far they’ve found no waste leaking into the environment from the tank called AY-102.

The new report says many of the tanks original welds from 40 years ago didn’t meet standards and had to be fixed before it was filled. Later, super-hot waste was added that was likely corrosive to the tank’s metal walls.

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Environment
7:56 am
Fri November 9, 2012

New Science Teams To Tackle Hanford Plant's Vexing Challenges

The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant or vit plant, located on the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford site is a 65-acre complex. Photo courtesy of Bechtel National, Inc.

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 3:56 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

The massive factory at Hanford is supposed to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. That goo is currently in leaking, aging underground tanks near the Columbia River.

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Hanford
5:57 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Hanford Managers Confirm Slow Leak In Radioactive Waste Tank

Routine periodic visual monitoring (via camera) of the AY-102 annulus found material that was never before seen. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have confirmed that a radioactive waste tank has a slow leak. That waste isn’t getting into the environment.

This house-sized vessel is known as AY-102. It’s made of steel and concrete and buried underground to shield workers from high levels of radiation. It’s full of hazardous radioactive sludge left over from plutonium production here.

It was designed to last for about 40 years, and it’s already had its 44th birthday. The tank is leaking into the space between its two hulls in two spots.

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