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In brief: Reactor housing to be blown up

Fri., Aug. 15, 2014

The below-ground portion of a former Hanford experimental reactor just north of Richland will be blown up Saturday morning, weather permitting.

The Department of Energy and its contractor Washington Closure Hanford have turned to an explosive demolition company to help turn the below-ground concrete structure with walls as thick as 13 feet into rubble.

“There may be a bit of dust. From a visual perspective it will be unspectacular,” said Chris Pearson, Washington Closure program manager for the project.

There’s not much to see at the reactor already.

The iconic dome of the Plutonium Recycle Test Reactor stood 80 feet high and was one of the most distinctive features at Hanford until the containment dome was lifted off as part of environmental cleanup in 2011. The concrete exhaust stack, which was 100 feet tall, was destroyed with explosives.

At the start of this year the 100-megawatt reactor was hoisted out of its below-ground housing and hauled to central Hanford for disposal in a lined landfill.

What remains is the below-ground structure that housed the reactor, with a circular deck at ground level with a hole in the center where the reactor was lifted.

Billings considered for oil refinery

BILLINGS – An energy company said the Billings area is under consideration for a proposed $500 million oil refinery.

Quantum Energy Inc. said the plant would convert crude from the Bakken oil field into diesel, propane and butane and also capture carbon dioxide for oil field use.

The Billings Gazette reported Thursday that company officials plan to make a presentation to the Yellowstone County commissioners next week.

Quantum says the refinery would have 150 employees.

Molester sues over jail rapes

WALLA WALLA – A child molester who was raped while held in the Garfield County Jail in Pomeroy, Washington, is suing the county.

The complaint filed Tuesday in Walla Walla Superior Court said the man suffers anxiety and nightmares. He’s seeking an amount of money that would be determined at a trial in the civil rights lawsuit.

The Union-Bulletin reported the man was jailed in August 2011 for investigation of child rape when he was raped three times by cellmate John Markwell.

Markwell was convicted by a jury and, as a persistent offender with a history of violent sex crimes, he is serving a life sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary.

The plaintiff pleaded guilty to the child rape charges and is serving a 10-year sentence at the Monroe Corrections Center.

Millions donated for heart care

PORTLAND – Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, are giving $25 million to Providence Health & Services for heart care.

Providence officials announced the donation Tuesday. The money will go toward a new cardiovascular center at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.


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