08 December 2009

Demolition of first Hanford processing canyon begins

An article in the Tri-City Herald over the weekend reports on the initiation of a multi-year project do demolish a "processing canyon" at the Hanford site. A processing canyon is a long, narrow plant that chemically separated plutonium from irradiated fuel rods, similar to the nuclear "re"processing that is a current topic under hot debate. Hanford is home to 5 such processing canyons; this first one to be demolished was never actually used to extract uranium and thus is the least contaminated of the Hanford canyons.

The article comments on the final destination of contaminated materials from the canyon:

Plans call for leaving radioactive waste permanently in place as the lower level of the plant is made into a giant waste receptacle for contaminated equipment from the plant.

Then the ceiling and walls will be collapsed and covered with an environmentally protective earthen cap that would form a huge berm standing 40 feet high along the length of the former processing canyon.

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