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  1. #1
    JUB Addict evanrick's Avatar
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    Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    Seems we got more than we bargained for in manufacturing the Atomic Bomb, as now its costing thousands of millions of dollars to clean up the mess. Congressional budget cuts could have an impact on the cleanup process.

    Im beginning to understand why Washington State has the 6th highest military presence in the US. It has the effect of homogenizing the state with military personnel, and makes it harder to us to be free of federal overreach and at the mercy of federal help in paying for the costly cleanup.

    At the height of World War II, the federal government created Hanford in the remote sagebrush of eastern Washington as part of a hush-hush project to build the atomic bomb. The site ultimately produced plutonium for the world's first atomic blast and for one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, effectively ending the war.

    Construction of a $12.3 billion plant to convert the waste to a safe, stable form is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Technical problems have slowed the project, and several workers have raised lawsuits in recent months, claiming they were retaliated against for raising concerns about the plant's design and safety.
    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/T...191454201.html
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  2. #2
    Rambunctiously Pugnacious JayHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    The 'history' of the site and the reason there is so much radioactive waste there are two different items. Hanford is where we ship dead reactor cores when the federal government is done with them.

    One of the most difficult concepts of nuclear waste storage is the long half life. If you add in a liquid or fluid state then it becomes very hard to contain over say, 25,000 years.

    That is one reason why the idea was to dump it into the Yucca Mtn. The geological makeup of Yucca means that it would be difficult for escaped seepage to make it anywhere that could rejoin the water table. However the idea of controlled seepage has people, understandably, nervous and not willing to go along.



    The process being developed in Hanford on a large scale, vitirfication, works in the lab. It is turning radioactive effluent into a glass like solid. When they hired Bechtel to oversee the process the DOE expected a good result as Bechtel had worked with and for the US government for decades. That was not what they got. So they fired people and the DOE took over supervision of the project. Now failures are coming forward to cry that they were punished for being failures. Oh joy. The surrounding landscape has been filled will anti-nuc protestors for just about the same amount of time that it was publicly known for what purpose there is a Hanford.

    The final point about Hanford is that it is a mess. Have no doubt. A variety of storage ideas for the waste coupled with the science that was not up to the task when the items were originally stored has created very radioactive and very unstable waste. The new process was to be online last year but failed to come to fruition due to poor practices by Bechtel. DOE wanted to fire them last year. I am unsure whether they did or did not. Eventually all of the the effluent in the underground tanks will be vitrified and stored as a solid.

    Consider this a as toe curler. THAT is how a DOE project is being handled. Lots of various types of radioactive waste being generated at plenty of commercial plants. DOE oversees them all but doesn't stand there and hold hands with operators. So how does that make you feel nuclear communities?

    BTW once the vitrification process is online the operating plants around the US and some around the world will be forced to pay for the process at Hanford. Once up and running that project will pay for itself.
    Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.
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  3. #3
    Rambunctiously Pugnacious JayHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    I also find the thread title quite misleading. The assessment was that THIS last year somewhere between 150 and 300 gallons could have leaked. However those levels are monitored constantly and this is a new issue of this year not yearly. Obviously a situation that needs addressing but asserting that is how much leaks yearly is ignorant.

    What they need to do is repackage the material for standby to vitrification. That will eventually be the process when vit is on line or if it never works then the only other option is removal and repackaging. So start now with the oldest tanks first and move forward while completing vit in a parallel process.
    Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.
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  4. #4
    JockBoy87
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    Maybe someone can help clear up the exact nature of the hazard. Is this an issue of groundwater or soil contamination? And is the hazard eligible for aid under the superfund act?

  5. #5
    Rambunctiously Pugnacious JayHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    Already a Super Fund site. The issue is effluent (liquid) seeping into the soil near the major waterway (a river) that could contaminate drinking water for a lot of communities.

    The screaming is because things like the Superfund for cleanup are affected as well by across the board cuts. Across the board means..... well across the board ten percent reduction in every single solitary thing the government does. So while the ignorant republicans preach government abuse and that government is good for nothing .. and one could make a case that this situation is a huge cluster fuck... yet in this instance Government intervention is the only method of addressing the problem. Industry cannot do it alone. If the government mandated they would simply go bankrupt and liquidate. Left to their own devices industry would do nothing until a class action law suit directed them to do something. Then they would do the same liquidation but keep none of the cash.

    Simply put, a glaring example that our government serves a purpose and the black and white world of republican ultimatums makes zero sense in a gray world.
    Last edited by JayHawk; February 16th, 2013 at 10:24 PM.
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  6. #6
    Rambunctiously Pugnacious JayHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    To be sure to point out that while this article is misleading I did say this was a fucking mess... and it is:

    In 1989, production stopped and work shifted to cleanup of portions of the site contaminated with hazardous substances, including both radionuclides and chemical waste.

    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.
    Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.
    ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


  7. #7
    JockBoy87
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    Interesting. I looked for some statistics on the EPA site about Hanford.

    Compared to the 475,000,000,000 gallons of contaminated water discharged on the site during operations and 80 square miles of groundwater contamination above acceptable standards today, it seems as though 300 gallons is not very much of a concern.

  8. #8
    Rambunctiously Pugnacious JayHawk's Avatar
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    It does. I think the major concern is two fold. One the leakage is from a previously stablized tank. It had leaked, been pumped down and then stopped leaking. This sugest much more deteroiration of the tank walls. The second and probably much more scary thought is that there are plenty of other tanks that are of that age so does this mean they will start breaking down and discharging their contents? Many of those tanks may have contents much higher than the tank in the article because they had previously been considered 'contained'.

    Beyond the safety considerations and the complexity fo the cleanup you also have the normal political yammering that is trying to bring up every issue that is affected by the coming cuts. We are about a month out so we wont see actual wall to wall twenty four seven coverage of the deadlock in washington until the last week of Feb. Sigh!!!!!
    Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.
    ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


  9. #9
    JockBoy87
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    Well, this is why there are no more non-uranium reactors in the US, not even for medical isotopes.

    People are too afraid of environmental disaster now, and the associated costs.

  10. #10
    CE&P Secret Police xbuzzerx's Avatar
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    Re: Atomic Bomb site in Washington State leaking 300 gallons of toxic waste every year

    Quote Originally Posted by JockBoy87 View Post
    Maybe someone can help clear up the exact nature of the hazard. Is this an issue of groundwater or soil contamination? And is the hazard eligible for aid under the superfund act?
    According to everything I've ever understood about Superfund it also prioritizes by population density near to toxic sites, which is why potentially more dangerous types of chemical or toxic contamination (often done on purpose out in the middle of nowhere in the first place) wind up at the bottom of the list consistently.

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