Hanford Cleanup Proposal Invites Public Comment

by Crane-Station
cross-posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL yesterday

As problem-to-problem gridlock unfolds at Hanford with leaking radioactive waste storage tanks, Hanford is holding public meetings in Richland, WA and invites public comment, through August 16, 2013, regarding cleanup proposal for 300 Area. 300 Area is another part of the giant nuclear superfund site.

Hanford’s 300 Area covers 40 square miles along the Columbia River. 300 Area fabricated nuclear fuel for Hanford’s nine plutonium reactors (recall the steps in nuclear fuel manufacture to be mining/milling, conversion, enrichment, and fabrication). 300 Area was also an area of research into plutonium handling.

During these activities in the Cold War years,

They poured about 2 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste a day into sandy ponds and trenches right next to the Columbia River. Cleaning up buildings and material there has kept crews busy for 20 years.

One of the remaining jobs is to work on a 125-acre groundwater plume contaminated with uranium.

300 Area is a superfund priority site, along with 100 Area and 200 Area. The EPA explains that affected areas are groundwater, soil and sludges, surface water and air:

Groundwater is contaminated with uranium, volatile organic compounds, strontium-90, and tritium. Soils primarily contain uranium, cobalt-60, copper, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chromium, but may also include other contaminants associated with research and development activities. DOE has detected uranium and TCE in groundwater adjacent to the Columbia River. People may be exposed to hazardous and radioactive substances through direct contact, accidental ingestion, and inhalation of contaminated particles, groundwater, soil, or surface water.

At first, the selected Orwellian remedy for cleanup of the above-described hot mess was “monitored natural attenuation,” which sounds an awful lot like “do nothing,” but this remedy was reevaluated, and more action was deemed appropriate. A lot of remove-treat-dispose has been done in 300 Area over the years, but at this stage 1) buildings will need to be demolished and removed before the soil underneath can be reached, but 2) the soil underneath some of the buildings is so highly radioactive that no worker can get anywhere close to the building to demolish it or remove the soil. Soil from underneath these buildings will need to be removed with remote equipment. Other buildings are deemed to be “high-risk, high-dose” for the workers, who must take extraordinary precautions.

The current plan, Department of Energy hydrologist Michael Thompson explains, is to “sequester that uranium in place.”

“In other words, chemically bind it up. We’re going to add phosphates to it. And the uranium then does not dissolve back into the groundwater and the groundwater will clean itself up within a reasonable amount of time,” he said.

Although I am no physicist, this sounds pretty good on the surface. Send that bad bad uranium a-packing once and for all with with a phosphate-and-nature deus ex machina. However, has such a thing ever been done successfully, on this scale, in the field?


300 Area cleanup plan draws questions


Cleanup Options For Hanford’s 300 Area Going Public

Proposed Cleanup Plan for Hanford’s 300 Area

Integrated Field Research Challenge – Hanford 300 Area
Solving Uranium Migration at the Hanford Site

24 Responses to Hanford Cleanup Proposal Invites Public Comment

  1. crazy1946 says:

    Here’s a thought, can we just build a pipe line to where they want to bring that toxic tar sand oil from and exchange our toxic mess for theirs?

  2. Two sides to a story says:

    Humans clearly aren’t equipped to handle nuclear power and yet have placed it both in highly populated and beautiful areas.

    Too cheap to meter, indeed.

    What’s so sad is that in a failing economy, these clean-up efforts may eventually be ditched. No one was really ready for failure or for the sorts of remedies that take years and decades and maybe even centuries to implement.

    How foolish we are.

  3. MDH says:

    It looks like the plan is to lock up the uranium into a solid that is not water soluble.

    In uranium mining, ore is a solid wherein the uranium is dispersed to the point that the radiation levels are tolerable. Processing concentrates uranium to lethal levels.

    Common sense would tell one that some form of dispersal along with recreation of a non water soluble solid is the best way to return waste to the hole it came from.

    But that would cost money.

    So we have “monitored natural attenuation” aka take the money and run.

    • Right, and the government contractors involved with Hanford over the years are no stranger to ‘take the money and run.’

      • MDH says:

        Government contractors “lost” about 30 billion cash in Iraq. What a world we live in. We pay billions to create schools for Iraqi children while killing and not giving a shit about educating “those people”. {note those people are the most American out of just about all of us} I wonder how many of our wars Trayvons relatives were in vs Fogen’s?

        Here’s a song dedicated to the Zimmerman’s and all the chicken hawks like the Nuge and O’reilly who love them.

  4. colin black says:

    Why don’t they get some selfless hero types as volunteered in Japan to clean up.

    An try to make safe the reactors damaged by the sunnami

    Reactors wich are still critical condition as of today!

    Am sure foggage would be first in the que to serve his country as a decent Merican.

    • crazy1946 says:

      colin black, While that suggestion was probably made in jest, if the people in charge hear it, the prison system would suddenly be forced to volunteer to do the clean up! Look at all the money corporate America can make using prison inmates and paying them $1.00 an hour or less….. and then charging them $2.00 a day for room and board…. The great American dream come true…

  5. lady2soothe says:

    Racial Profiling Gone Wrong: Bigot Cops Didn’t Recognize Off-Duty Chief


    At least one cop has been disciplined for ordering the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed Black officer out of his auto while the three-star chief was off-duty and parked in Queens.

    “How you can not know or recognize a chief in a department SUV with ID around his neck, I don’t know,” a police source said.

    Chief Douglas Zeigler, 60, head of the Community Affairs Bureau, was in his NYPD-issued vehicle near a fire hydrant when two plainclothes cops approached on May 2, sources said.

    One officer walked up on each side of the SUV at 57th Ave. and Xenia St. in Corona about 7 p.m. and told the driver to roll down the heavily tinted windows, sources said.

    What happened next is in dispute.

    In his briefing to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Chief Zeigler said the two cops, who are White, had no legitimate reason to approach his SUV, ranking sources said.

    After they ordered him to get out, one officer did not believe the NYPD identification Zeigler gave him.

    The cops gave a different account:

    When one officer spotted Zeigler’s service weapon through the rolled-down window, he yelled “Gun!” according to sources who have spoken with the officers.

    Both cops raised their weapons and ordered the driver out of the car, sources said.

    Instead of saying he was an armed member of the NYPD, Zeigler shouted, “Don’t you know who I am?” the sources said.

    When one cop reached over to check the identification badge around Zeigler’s neck, the chief pushed him away, sources said.

    Only then did Zeigler tell the two officers his name and rank, those sources alleged.

    Chief Zeigler, in his discussions with Kelly, said the officers never yelled “Gun!” sources said.

    One cop got into a heated argument with the chief even after seeing the ID, sources said.

    That cop was stripped of his gun and badge and placed on modified duty last night, sources said. The status of the second officer was unclear.

    The incident occurred as the NYPD is under fire for record numbers of pedestrians being stopped and frisked, the majority of them Black or Hispanic. Some 145,098 people were stopped by the NYPD in the first quarter of this year.

    Zeigler has headed the Community Affairs Bureau since January 2006. His wife, Neldra Zeigler, is NYPD deputy commissioner for equal employment opportunity.

  6. colin black says:


    cielo62 says:

    August 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    OT here but DAMN! Doesn’t this story sound FAMILIAR???

    • MDH says:

      Damn, that’s why fogen was driving so fast. He had to get to his new “don’t let those f’ers get away” job {snark}

    • colin black says:

      This is exactly why foggage an people of his ilk wannabe LE In Merica.

      You get a gun a badge an a licence to kill/murder.

      Shop lifting can be a capital offence in Merica as can Walking whilst Black or reaching for wallet or phone whilst Black.Or talking back whilst Black.

      That’s why foggage pestered the ex cop co employee to recount the tale of his shooting dead a suspect over an over.

      Sociapathic personaltys realise a uniform gives you power to harras.

      Intimidate an use lethal force at the drop of a hat.

      Wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what this 19 yr old shop lifted.

      A B Ball cap or sun glasses an all of a sudden decided to go from a minor infraction shop lifting an resisting arrest.

      To murdering an chockeing a grown man with his two hands.

      Throtleing a person with enough force to make them think there life was about to end?

      Ive been choked an If the chockee is serious an has the advantage your hands must go up to break the strangle hold instantly.

      Or you will lose consiouness an be at there mercy.

      No way would you attempt to go down an reach for a weapon.

      So this cop is full of it.

      Lets see photos of his neck do the minor injurys include bruises shaped finger marks around his neck.

      • MDH says:

        A sick part of culture in the USA is that property has more value than a human life.

        I must be an American weirdo.

        Even if I did have a gun, I would let a robber run away from me because I just can’t see killing someone over “a bit of money” {yes, that was a reference to Fargo}.

        “Money can’t buy life”

        – Bob Marley

    • Good Lord, an eerily familiar story, regarding the supposed fight and choking details, which of course, we only have from the off-duty officer, who killed.

      I guess the shoplifter must have shoplifted something. Trayvon paid for his groceries at the convenience store.

      At any rate, shoplifting was not a capital offense, when I last checked.

      But the very odd part is the fight/choking part of the story. What a creepy coincidence. How very similar. What an amazing, unbelievable shoplifter, you know, capable of killing a trained, armed police officer with his bare hands.

      When I read all these stories, as the killers relate them, hell, you’d think that the bare hands are way more powerful than any type of sidearm! My bare hands: way way more deadly than a gun!

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