Hanford’s Radioactive Waste-Filled Tunnel 2 Set For Grouting After Comment And Study Process
Another large tunnel of radioactive waste will be grouted closed at Hanford. That was the decision Friday by the Washington Department of Ecology.
The long process goes back to when another tunnel, simply called Tunnel 1, partially collapsed in May 2017.
Tunnel 2 is nearly 1,700 feet long and filled with 28 rail cars full of chemical and radioactive waste. It’s mostly large and failed equipment that was too radioactive to store elsewhere.
Stephanie Schlief is the project manager for the tunnels for the state Ecology Department. She says if there was a collapse of Tunnel 2, it’d be potentially bad.
“There’s always the potential for there to be an exposure scenario to either people or workers out there, that could possibly have a release of radioactive material,” Schlief said.
More than 5,000 truckloads of grout will be used to fill up Tunnel 2. Critics say that much grout means the two tunnels will likely become a permanent near-surface waste dump. But federal contractors say the grout and radioactive equipment could be removed in the future.
WATCH: How Hanford’s Tunnel 1 Failed
The report from the independent Government Accountability Office says the U.S. Department of Energy has not found the root causes of the partial collapse of the waste-storage tunnel, and that failures in DOE’s investigation, inspections and maintenance of other aging and contaminated facilities is concerning. Continue Reading Federal Watchdog Criticizes Energy Department For Hanford Cleanup, Tunnel Collapse
From 1949 to 1989, the massive plant’s job was to turn caustic liquids containing plutonium into solid plutonium “buttons,” as they were known. The finished buttons were about the size of hockey pucks and were used for America’s nuclear weapons. Continue Reading Hanford’s Long-Shuttered Plutonium Finishing Plant Is Now Demolished After Delays, Safety Issues
Washington Department of Ecology leaders say without access to this data, they can’t effectively protect the land, air and water for residents in eastern Washington and surrounding communities. They say they’ve attempted to negotiate this issue with federal Energy managers for years. Continue Reading Washington State Regulators Fine Feds More Than $1 Million Over Hanford Cleanup Data