Recently, a tremendous success story culminated at the Hanford Reservation – the completion of radioactive sludge removal from one of the K-Reactor basins. Announcement of the completion of this task ends a years-long process that was a major barrier to finally cocooning the K reactors, which are the last two other than B left in their original state (albeit long since shut down and defueled) at Hanford. (Of course, B Reactor has been preserved as a historic landmark and can be toured.)
Operation of these weapons production reactors, considered vital for the United States’ nuclear weapons program through the ’40’s, ’50’s and ’60’s, produced large amounts of radioactive materials that, frankly, weren’t handled with the very long term in view. In the example in the video, material from N Reactor was shipped to the two K Reactor basins – and left there. Now, contractors and the DOE have to clean it up.
And clean it up, they have! You’ll see in today’s 11-minute feature.
For more on the American Nuclear Society’s Decommissioning and Environmental Sciences Professional Division, click here.
For more on the N Reactor and the commercial power plant connected to it, click here.