The Department of Energy was very busy this month cleaning up tons of debris along the Columbia River in Tri Cities Washington. The DOE met a milestone in an area Hanford Site when they improved 53 waste sites. The Tri City Citizen has this to say about the cleanup:
“DOE’s River Corridor contractor, Washington Closure Hanford, loaded more than 408,369 tons of waste during their work on 25 of the waste sites. In addition, they characterized, sampled and identified more than 40 unknown items, found seven pieces of spent nuclear fuel, evaluated more than 300 bottles containing laboratory waste, and collected more than 1,500 samples.
To meet the milestone, DOE and its contractors had to complete excavation of contaminated materials, document that the remediated sites met cleanup criteria, and backfill and revegetate the sites.
Nine of the remediated sites were large burial grounds containing contaminated soil, debris, and anomalies, including bottles, drums, animal carcasses, high pressure cylinders, spent nuclear fuel, and high-dose irradiated items.
Many of the anomalies required special methods to sample and characterize the material, and additional hazard controls were used to ensure worker safety.
By November 2008, Washington Closure had backfilled more than 450,000 tons of soil and revegetated 107 acres.
Contaminated material from the sites, except for the spent fuel, was sent for disposal to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility near the center of the Hanford Site. The spent nuclear fuel will await disposal at a permanent national repository.
Bechtel Hanford, predecessor to Washington Closure, began remediation of F Area in July 2005. Washington Closure took over in September 2005 and shipped the last container of waste from F Area in August 2008.”