February 3, 2009 in Region

Work to tear out Hanford’s K Basin begins

Tri-City Herald

RICHLAND, Wash. — Workers at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site are removing a leak-prone basin located just 400 yards from the Columbia River.

The K East Basin at the Hanford nuclear reservation used to hold spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors along the river. Over the past eight years, workers have removed 1,100 tons of highly radioactive fuel rods from the basin.

They’ve also drained 1 million gallons of water from the leak-prone basin and torn down the buildings that covered it. Now workers are tearing down the underground walls.

Dave Brockman, manager of the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations office, says the agency wants to get to the soil beneath the basin as soon as possible to keep contamination from moving toward the river.

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