2012 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2012 22:04:50 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] RADIATION: "Problems plague cleanup at Hanford (WA) nuclear waste site"
Problems plague cleanup at Hanford nuclear waste site

By Peter Eisler
January 25, 2012

HANFORD SITE, Wash. - Seven decades after scientists came here during World War II to create plutonium for the first atomic bomb, a new generation is struggling with an even more daunting task: cleaning up the radioactive mess.

The U.S. government is building a treatment plant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of waste left from a half-century of nuclear weapons production. The radioactive sludge is so dangerous that a few hours of exposure could be fatal. A major leak could contaminate water supplies serving millions across the Northwest. The cleanup is the most complex and costly environmental restoration ever attempted.

And the project is not going well.

A USA TODAY investigation has found that the troubled, 10-year effort to build the treatment plant faces enormous problems just as it reaches what was supposed to be its final stage.

In exclusive interviews, several senior engineers cited design problems that could bring the plant's operations to a halt before much of the waste is treated. Their reports have spurred new technical reviews and raised official concerns about the risk of a hydrogen explosion or uncontrolled nuclear reaction inside the plant. Either could damage critical equipment, shut the facility down or, worst case, allow radiation to escape.


For the entire article, see
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/story/2012-01-25/ hanford-nuclear-plutonium-cleanup/52622796/1


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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