01 October 2009

Hanford finishes shipping plutonium, unirradiated fuel

Two years ago, the Department of Energy decided to consolidate the nation's leftover weapons grade plutonium, in an effort to reduce security requirements at all sites but one. Savannah River, South Carolina, shown in the picture to the right, was targeted to receive the waste.

This article in the Tri-City Herald reports that Hanford finished shipping over 2,000 coffee-canister sized containers of plutonium-239 to Savannah River two years ago; in September 2009, they finished shipping unirradiated fuel off-site. Hanford still has some plutonium-238, originally received from Savannah River in the 1960's, that
was never used and is now slated to return to its origins. Looks like the DOE gets a kick out of transporting highly radioactive isotopes cross-country, a process which inherently exposes communities to radiation. We have to remain on guard, though, to be sure that DOE does not continue to target Hanford as a national radioactive and "mixed" radioactive and hazardous waste dump!


  1. I just read that Savannah River has no clear disposal pathway for this material. It potentially could go to WIPP, in New Mexico! This is ridiculous.

  2. UW Anthropology 469October 23, 2009 at 8:12 PM

    It's appalling and offensive to think that these radioactive "coffee-canister sized container" are being shipped on our roadways, train tracks, or airspace. Any small fluke could have massive amounts of devastating results. Imagine hoe detrimental the consequences of a freeway collision with the dangerous material could be on the humans and environment. Thank you Hanford for putting our lives at risk!