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Hanford landfill work halted for probe - Business | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news - 0 views

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    "Disposal has been halted as a precaution at Hanford's landfill for low-level radioactive and chemical waste until more is known about a load disposed there Tuesday afternoon.

    Workers reported an unpleasant sulfurlike smell and seeing possibly dust or smoke rising from waste being disposed of in the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, said Todd Nelson, spokesman for Washington Closure Hanford.

    The load had come from cleanup work in a part of B Reactor that's not accessible to the public.

    The Department of Energy asked that some housekeeping work be done in the historic reactor to get it in top shape as limited tours are offered and the National Park Service considers possible plans for a Manhattan Project National Historical Park."
Energy Net

Yakamas sue over Hanford waste landfill - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Col... - 0 views

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    "The Yakama Nation has filed a lawsuit challenging the state of Washington's actions to start construction of a cover over closed portions of private company US Ecology's waste disposal trenches at Hanford.

    Heart of America Northwest Research Center has joined the Yakamas in the lawsuit filed in Yakima County Superior Court.

    The state believes it has acted properly and that the Yakama Nation does not have a valid case, according to the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.

    The state has a lease from the federal government for 100 acres on the Hanford nuclear reservation subleased to US Ecology for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste from organizations such as universities, hospitals, biotech firms and electric utilities in western states.

    The plaintiffs maintain that the landfill contains at least 220 pounds of plutonium 239 plus irradiated fuel segments and other spent nuclear fuel. It also may contain two high-level radioactive fuel rods disposed of at the site around 2003, the plaintiffs said."
Energy Net

The Associated Press: Tribes: Nuclear waste can't be stored at Hanford - 0 views

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    "The Hanford nuclear reservation is already the most contaminated U.S. nuclear site, and federal efforts to find a permanent place for all of the nation's radioactive waste shouldn't impede plans to clean it up, people from various backgrounds told a federal commission Wednesday.

    The panel, appointed by President Barack Obama to examine U.S. nuclear waste policies, toured the Hanford site, heard from local advocacy groups and Northwest American Indian tribes about the need for cleanup.

    The visit to south-central Washington was one of several planned around the country by the 15-member Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. The group is charged with reviewing U.S. treatment, transportation and disposal of radioactive waste."
Energy Net

The costs are more than financial - 0 views

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    "We cannot look the other way on the Hanford cleanup controversy
    Referring in print to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as America's Chernobyl is a pretty good way to get a call from Hanford's press office, which is understandably anxious to avoid comparison with the Soviet reactor disaster. But according to the latest analysis, Chernobyl may start calling to complain about being lumped together with Hanford.

    This is because the amount of deadly plutonium buried near the Columbia River in southeastern Washington state is three times what the U.S. government has previously estimated. Highly cancer-causing even at microscopic quantities, it is now thought that nearly 26,000 pounds of the bomb-making material was discarded as waste at Hanford."
Energy Net

AllGov - News - Plutonium Cleanup in Washington State Could Take Millennia - 0 views

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    "t's not out of the question that the United States might not be around long enough to see the complete cleanup of its Cold War legacy in Washington State.

    Not far from the banks of the Columbia River resides the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, once the most important manufacturer of plutonium for America's nuclear arsenal. Today, the 560-square-mile decommissioned facility is teeming with plutonium, one of the most toxic substances on earth (minute particles of it can cause cancer), with a half-life of 24,000 years.

    The U.S. Department of Energy estimated back in the mid-1990s that Hanford had more than 111,000 kilograms of plutonium to dispose of. A former department official, Robert Alvarez, recently went over old Energy reports and determined that the original math was way off. It turns out that Hanford has three times more plutonium than was calculated in 1996."
Energy Net

Hanford waste retrieval resumes with better technology - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City H... - 0 views

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    "Hanford workers have resumed digging up temporarily buried transuranic waste in central Hanford with improved technology that should take some of the surprises out of the work.

    Retrieval of the transuranic waste -- typically debris contaminated with plutonium -- was stopped in February by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. when it ran into problems. Since then the Department of Energy contractor has been working on improvements to its processes.

    In 1970 Congress ordered transuranic waste sent to a national repository. But until the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico opened, Hanford workers have been storing waste suspected of being transuranic, often by temporarily burying it.

    Much of the waste that Hanford workers have dug up so far to ship to New Mexico was buried in tidy rows and information about what's underground has been available.

    But within the last year CH2M Hill has been progressing to more difficult burial trenches, and that's contributed to problems."
Energy Net

Hanford barrier plan better block vs. waste in river - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Her... - 0 views

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    "The Department of Energy is proposing extending a chemical barrier along the Columbia River at Hanford after a pilot project successfully trapped radioactive strontium before it entered the river.

    At the same time, a system to pump contaminated water out of the ground and treat it, which had disappointing results, would be torn out.

    DOE has been testing the chemical barrier technology since 2005, with the most recent results showing a 90 percent reduction in strontium contamination in ground water, according to DOE.

    The test area extends 300 feet along the Columbia near Hanford's N Reactor, but DOE is proposing extending the chemical barrier to 2,500 feet to span the width of the area where strontium exceeds drinking water standards in ground water near the river."
Energy Net

Work stops at 27 Hanford buildings for beryllium check - Business | Tri-City Herald : M... - 0 views

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    "Washington Closure Hanford has stopped work at 27 buildings at Hanford as it makes sure they have no beryllium contamination.

    The 27 buildings are among a couple of hundred under the contractor's control and have not been sampled for beryllium, in some cases because they are new structures.

    An independent inspection released by the Department of Energy Office of Health, Safety and Security on June 2 found a new sitewide program to prevent chronic beryllium disease at Hanford had shortcomings.

    As it became clear during the inspection this spring that improvements were needed, DOE Hanford officials instructed the site's environmental cleanup contractors to take actions, such as completing sampling for beryllium at any facility where it is required."
Energy Net

Deputy secretary of energy says vit plant at pivot point - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City... - 0 views

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    "Hanford's massive vitrification plant is at a pivotal point, Daniel Poneman, deputy secretary of energy, said Monday during his second visit to Hanford.

    With design 80 percent complete, work is approaching the transition from the design and construction phase to the construction and commissioning phase, he said.

    Poneman's visit highlights the high priority the Department of Energy has assigned to the $12.2 billion Waste Treatment Plant and the attention being given to the project by DOE all the way up to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "
Energy Net

Pumping of Hanford tank waste halted - Tri-City Herald - 0 views

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    Work has halted to empty the only Hanford tank on which work has been under way to retrieve radioactive waste, but the Department of Energy and its contractor have ambitious plans for the remainder of the year.

    "Washington River Protection Solutions is going to be working very hard this summer to pull this off," said Steve Pfaff, DOE project director for tank waste retrieval.

    Work started in January to remove 260,000 gallons of solids from Tank C-104, one of 142 leak-prone single-shell tanks at Hanford that still hold radioactive waste from the production of plutonium during World War II and the Cold War.

    But this spring the pump lowered into the tank to help remove waste hit an obstruction hidden in the sludge. It was a broken piece of an old pump that Washington River Protection Solutions had removed from the tank to make way for the pump used for waste retrieval."
Energy Net

Report: Hanford beryllium program has weaknesses | Seattle Times Newspaper - 0 views

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    "An Energy Department review has concluded that a program for protecting workers from a toxic metal at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site has a number of weaknesses and could have been implemented more quickly.

    An Energy Department review has concluded that a program for protecting workers from a toxic metal at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site has a number of weaknesses and could have been implemented more quickly.

    However, the review released Wednesday also found the beryllium program is an improvement over past practices.

    Beryllium was used in the production of reactor fuel at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation, and dust remains in some buildings.

    Worker safety groups have raised concerns that workers have not been adequately protected from exposure to beryllium, which can cause a lung disease."
Energy Net

DOE ready to close 2 Hanford landfills - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Colu... - 0 views

  • Among waste disposed of there are about 4,938 pounds of nickel, 1,391 pounds of trichloroethylene, 987 pounds of cadmium, 784 pounds of benzene, 694 pounds of hydrazine and hydrazine sulfate, 207 pounds of carbon tetrachloride and 57 pounds of chromium.
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    "The Department of Energy is proposing that it close and cover two landfills at Hanford using federal economic stimulus money to start the project.

    Both landfills lie east of the Rattlesnake Barrier on Army Loop Road in the 600 Area about nine miles from the Columbia River. Although neither was used for waste with radioactive contamination, containers of hazardous chemicals were disposed of in one, the Nonradioactive Dangerous Waste Landfill.

    DOE considered digging up portions or all of the waste in the landfills but concluded that closing and covering them with a barrier would comply with state regulations. "
Energy Net

Local News | Nuclear commission to meet at Hanford | Seattle Times Newspaper - 0 views

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    "A commission examining U.S. nuclear waste policies amid a plan to abandon a proposed repository will hold its next meeting at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site.

    The meeting will be July 14-15 at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation.

    Some Hanford waste has long been planned for disposal at a nuclear waste repository. However, the Obama administration wants to withdraw its application to build the repository at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles from Las Vegas."
Energy Net

Draft Federal Report On Beryllium At Hanford Released To Limited Audience - 0 views

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    "Some people sickened by beryllium say the toxic metal is finally getting adequate attention at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Department of Energy has completed a long-awaited report on workers' exposure to beryllium. But the document has not yet been made public.

    Beryllium is a light-weight metal that was used to seal radioactive rods. In fine particles it can get into the lungs.

    Craig Hall worked at Hanford. He was diagnosed with Chronic Beryllium Disease more than 10 years ago. Since then he's been warning of the dangers of beryllium, but says he was ignored. Now a federal investigation has resulted in a 100-page draft report by the Department of Energy's Office of Health Safety and Security. Hall was one of the few people who were allowed to see it this week. Hall says he thinks the findings could have been more critical of Hanford managers. But he says the issue has reached a tipping point."
Energy Net

Former Hanford worker warns of beryllium disease - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Herald ... - 0 views

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    "Tom Peterson walked into the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Monday leaning on a walker and breathing supplied oxygen through a tube to his nose.

    "You guys don't need this," he told about 600 CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. Hanford workers.

    A former ironworker rigger at Hanford, he once taught health and safety classes at the HAMMER training center to other Hanford workers.

    Now, at 58, he's working to make sure that other workers don't fall victim to the same workplace illness that's robbed him of his breath, chronic beryllium disease."
Energy Net

Stimulus Workers Confront Legacy of Contamination at Nuclear Sites (Single Page) - ProP... - 0 views

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    "The $2 billion in federal stimulus money came as blessedly as rain to the desert of southeastern Washington state, where the government has spent decades trying to clean up the most productive A-bomb factory of the Cold War era. Phones at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation rang off the hook with calls from people in the nearby metropolitan area of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland who hoped to land one of 4,000 new stimulus jobs -- on top of 11,000 already working at Hanford. Robert Valdez, 33, a father of two young children who was among the early hires, said the starting pay of $17 an hour plus benefits was "life changing." So were the nine weeks of intensive training he underwent to prepare for the hazards of working around a stew of poisonous chemicals and menacing pockets of radiation. "
Energy Net

Cantwell wants more money to screen ill Hanford workers - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City ... - 0 views

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    "A program to screen former workers at Hanford and other Department of Energy nuclear weapons sites for work-related illnesses is underfunded, according to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

    Funding needs to be increased from $18.6 million to $25 million a year to screen or rescreen all the former workers who contact the program, she wrote the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

    "It is absolutely crucial we fully fund this important program so that every single Department of Energy nuclear weapons worker has the option to access free health screenings for work-related illnesses," Cantwell said in a statement. "Early detection of illnesses can save lives."

    Since the program was established by Congress in 1993, it has attempted to contact about 360,000 of an estimated 600,000 workers who are eligible, she said.

    More than 107,000 responded, but just 60,000 workers have had initial screenings, including about 6,800 former Hanford workers. Of all the workers screened nationwide only 8,600 -- including about 1,250 at Hanford -- have had follow-up screenings."
Energy Net

Hanford Moves Out Nine Radioactive "Hot Cells" | KEPR CBS 19 - News, Weather and Sports... - 0 views

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    "A big part of Hanford's clean-up effort is taking place right now. That's nine radioactive "hot cells" packed up in custom containers and sealed for disposal. It's work that's years in the making.

    KEPR was the only station there as workers rolled out another hot cell.
    Each can weigh up to 200 tons. It's just one reason the work is slow. It also moves slowly because what's inside the containers is very, very dangerous. Gary Snow runs the demolition part of today's project.

    "The purpose of the building was to do testing on radiating materials. And over the course of the building, there were numerous accidents that spread contaminations," said Snow.

    The hot cell rolled out Thursday was not rolled out in the morning because it was too windy. But once it is, it will go in a custom brown container and will be filled with a cement grout."
Energy Net

Seattle PostGlobe | Investigate West; Dateline Earth | It's the most contaminated spot ... - 0 views

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    "Maybe it was the post-Earth Day glow, or perhaps the prospect of a long-delayed vacation. But when I and colleagues from the Society of Environmental Journalists on Friday visited the most contaminated site in North America, Hanford Nuclear Reservation, I was surprised by the amount of progress that has been made on cleanup.

    Now, there's no doubt that Hanford is still a mess. The project is starting to look like it will cost roughly twice as much and take roughly twice as long as originally estimated, as Karen Dorn Steele established on our tour. There's been no shortage of screwups and missteps in the cleanup process. Radioactive waste is leaking into the only part of the Columbia River that still flows naturally, onto the spawning grounds for that so-very-rare commodity on the Columbia, a healthy salmon run."
Energy Net

New deadlines proposed for Hanford radioactive waste - Mid-Columbia News | Tri-City Her... - 0 views

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    "The Department of Energy and its regulators have agreed to new legally binding environmental cleanup deadlines for radioactive waste that has been temporarily buried at central Hanford since 1970.

    The proposed new package of deadlines would allow more time for some work but also add new deadlines DOE must meet. They include the first-ever deadlines for when some of the waste must be shipped to a national repository in New Mexico and a final cleanup deadline for some of the most difficult-to-handle solid waste, which Hanford now lacks the capabilities to prepare for disposal.

    "We've come up with a change package that satisfies the interest of DOE, Ecology and the public," said Deborah Singleton, project manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology. The state and the Environmental Protection Agency are Hanford regulators. "
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