KLCC: Volcano could cause disaster at Hanford nuclear facility (AUDIO)

Published: February 18th, 2013 at 10:56 pm ET


Title: Senator Ron Wyden To Visit Hanford, Report Raises Issues With Site’s Plant
Source: KLCC Eugene Oregon NPR
Author: Anna King
Date:  February 18, 2013

We’ve been reporting on an underground tank that may be leaking at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. […]

The massive factory is supposed to treat 56-million-gallons of radioactive goo. Yes, goo. A lot of it is the consistency of peanut butter. But this spread isn’t going on a sandwich. No, it’s so hot with radioactivity that humans can’t even get close to it. All that goo is simmering away in WWII and Cold War-era underground tanks. Now two of those tanks are possibly leaking. That’s why building this waste treatment plant is so urgent. Did I mention all that waste is not far from the Columbia River? Yes it is. […]


Here’s another possible problem with the Hanford waste treatment plant. And it’s one that’s familiar in the Northwest: Ashfall. Think Mount St. Helens — 1980. If a similar event were to happen when the waste treatment plant was running it could be a disaster. The report says workers would have to scramble to change about 7,000 filters in less than 24 hours. Yes. Seven-thousand filters in less than 24 hours. They’re not just any filters, they’re intended to strain out radioactive contamination and hazardous chemicals so they don’t harm anyone.

Robert Alvarez is a senior scholar for nuclear and energy policies for a think-tank called Institute for Policy Studies: “… this vitrification plant is really going to have depend very heavily on those filters to make sure that radioactive materials don’t escape into the environment and potentially expose workers and the public.” […]

Green Marker: Mt. St. Helen’s; Red Marker: Hanford Site

Full broadcast here

Published: February 18th, 2013 at 10:56 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. FOX Seattle: Nuclear waste leaks at Hanford are far worse than we thought (VIDEO) February 23, 2013
  2. Businessweek: U.S. plutonium facility “might blow up, or, as they like to call it, experience a ‘criticality event'” — “450 billion gallons of industrial and radiological contaminants dumped directly into soil” — Threatens water supplies for millions across Pacific Northwest #Hanford August 2, 2013
  3. Radio: Uranium-contaminated plume covers 125 acres at U.S. nuclear site — Over 300 lbs. of uranium a year flowing into Columbia River (AUDIO) #Hanford July 30, 2013
  4. Report: U.S. nuclear site cleanup may be too dangerous — “Plutonium could congregate to trigger nuclear chain reaction” — Problems at Hanford ‘a show-stopper’ May 9, 2013
  5. Paper: U.S. nuclear site “a true horror story” — Officials should be screaming at top of their lungs in outrage — “Problems could lead to explosions or nuclear reactions” #Hanford June 7, 2013

11 comments to KLCC: Volcano could cause disaster at Hanford nuclear facility (AUDIO)

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Most contaminated nuclear site in the United States in such a nice part of the country. And leaking.

  • Sickputer

    "The operations at Hanford created one of the largest and most complex cleanup projects in the U.S. Weapons production resulted in more than 43 million cubic yards of radioactive waste, and over 130 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris. Approximately 475 billion gallons of contaminated water was discharged to the soil. Some of the contaminants have made it to groundwater under the site. Over 80 square miles of groundwater is contaminated to levels above groundwater protection standards. "


    SP: Another great document and fascinating nuclear history (next link) about the first 20 years of the Hanford cleanup:

    It's a long, but good read.

    • Sickputer

      Excerpts from the 196 page Hanford document:

      "Some of these tanks were also nearing the limits of their design life. Hanford’s 177 waste storage tanks held about 60 million gallons of highly radioactive and chemically hazardous waste. Sixty seven of these tanks had leaked an estimated one million gallons of waste into the soil."

      "Lawrence also revealed that the bottom of a Hanford tank ruptured in 1965 and released radioactive steam into the air. The incident was caused when moisture trapped between the floor of the tank and the concrete liner turned to steam. The steam caused an eight foot bulge in the steel liner." Pg. 21

      "DOE officials said tank A-105 may have leaked more than 1,000,000 gallons of contaminated water into the ground over a nine or ten year period starting about 1968. DOE contractors added hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to the tank to cool hot radioactive sludge in the bottom. That water leaked out of a ruptured tank seam. Previous leak estimates for the tank had been about 5,000 gallons. Westinghouse officials also said at least 780,000 gallons of waste were added to tank SX-108 in 1963 and 1964 and another 150,000 gallons of cooling water added to the tank between 1963 and 1967, even though the tank had leaked in 1962. All remaining liquids were pumped out of the tank in 1980." Pg. 26

  • razzz razzz

    The amount of energy to perform this task of melting sand to add to a mix of nuclear waste is enormous. Then while the mix is heated up you have to deal with the vapors by filtration…more radioactive waste from the filters to care for and dispose of. There is no guarantees that this new process will work. Over time if the mix turns to dust and the containers begin to leak, you are back to square one.

    "…The waste, a byproduct of plutonium-production during World War II and the Cold War era, is in 177 aging underground tanks. More than one-third of them have leaked, contaminating the subsurface and threatening the nearby Columbia River.

    The $12.2 billion project will use vitrification technology, blending the waste with glass-forming materials and heating it to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,149 degrees Celsius). The mixture is then poured into stainless steel canisters to cool and solidify. In this glass form, the waste is stable and impervious to the environment and safe for long-term storage.

    The project is the largest undertaking of its kind ever and one of DOE’s most technically challenging cleanup projects—equivalent to building two nuclear power plants. Its construction site spans 65 acres (26 hectares) and includes facilities for pretreatment, low-activity waste vitrification, and high-level waste vitrification, as well as an analytical laboratory…"

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      Don't forget to add the Betchel parasite tax and tip $12.2 Billion *initial* project (it needs several for full remediation) should balloon to about $20B before it fails.

      Betchel management should first be sent to CIA torture facilities (overseas somewhere, of course) for random torture. After about six months of softening up, they should be brought back to the U.S. on industrial terrorism charges at a secret military trial.

      They'll be allowed one attorney appointed by the court for their defense (all of them – mass trial). Before the judges decide their fate at U.S. hands, they will be extradited to the Hague and answer to charges of Crimes Against Humanity.

      After the Hague, if there is any 'after' they will return to the U.S. to answer fraud and mismanagement charges along with their USAID cronies for wasting billions of taxpayer dollars 'rebuilding' Iraq, and for the pain and suffering their profiteering cost the Iraqi people.

      Before they serve any sentence, they are required to perform three years of manual labor at Hartford in moon suits shoveling radioactive sludge. No badge allowed. Kevlar suit, surgical mask and rubber boots only.

      In the mean while, whatever survives of Bechtel will be ordered to dismantle every one of their dozens of untrustworthy, crumbling nuclear plants which will have their operating licenses pulled for fraudulent construction.

      After that, every former business unit of Betchel will be ordered to cease operations…

  • Did you know that we were heavily dosed with radioactive uranium and plutonium when Fukushima had all those explosions? Funny how the EPA stopped publishing data too.

    But I know how to mine the EPA web site for data, and I found simple proof that tens of tons of uranium and plutonium drifted over the US. And "they" did feel it was important to warn the sheeple, the warning could have been as simple as stay out of the rain for a month.

    Proof is here


  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The landslides involved with volcanic eruptions are no slouchers.
    Especially the one at the in conjunction with the Mount St.Helen eruption…1980

    Raging Planet- Earthquake Landslide


  • JoshuaNB

    It's been leaking since I moved here in '79. Their method of 'cleaning it up' is simply 'moving' it to another hole. This is a massive farce of taxpayers money paid to phd's making around $25,000 a month. The river is heavily contaminated, now with the radiation leaks, the trees are dying, or dead, along with everything else. I, myself had radiation poisoning so bad it fried my nerves. If I hadn't had access to Quantum Physics I would have died. Dying isn't my fear, I have no fears, but what is to come is far worse. Mankind and their insatiable greed has successfully poisoned the earth.

  • vivvi

    Lwt's think like officials for a moment. I know!!! Let's stuff it all inside one of those salt domes in Louisiana. What could go wrong?

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    This plant is much like a reprocessing or recycling facility…

    UK Sellafield Nuclear Reprocessing Plant Loses $1.2 Billion Pounds, Then Closes; via A Green Road

    Tokai And Rokkasho Reprocessing Plants History, Accidents And Dangers; via A Green Road

    The costs of these types of plants are HUGE, constantly increase, and usually have many accidents.

    They also release the equivalent radiation of a TMI accident EVERY YEAR.

    7000 or even 7 MILLION Filters will not change this basic set of facts…