Cleanup at 11 Hazardous Waste Burial Sites Finished 2 Years Ahead of Schedule
Back in 2002 Contractor Washington Closure Hanford began working on cleaning up 11 waste sites north of Richland, Washington. The Tri Party agreement Washington Closure was legally bound to states that the work had to be completed by 2012. Earlier this month Washington Closure announced they are finished with the cleanup work at the 11 sites, two years before the deadline. By finishing the cleanup this early, the contractor was able to save nearly $170 million. Throughout the cleanup workers have excavated 426,000 tons of soil at the 11 sites. One of the most hazardous sites, 618-7, workers dug up more than 800 barrels of hazardous materials, 100 drums of zircaloy shavings, and 16 stainless steel tanks. At other sites workers found five forklifts and a flatbed trailer as well as a safe that still had a jug of plutonium. A nuclear archaeologist at PNNL traced the origins of the plutonium back to the first batch of weapon grade material. The work at these sites has changed the way that Hanford cleans up waste sites; workers are protected and kept away from waste as much as possible. Most of the sites outside of Hanford’s 300 area are now cleaned up. There is work currently going on to learn about one of the most hazardous sites, 618-10, where radioactive cans have been sealed and placed into vertical pipes.
by Colleen Lane
The Lane Real Estate Team
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