Powder at Hanford found to be salt

By the Tri-City HeraldFebruary 6, 2013 

A white powder found during the annual look inside Hanford's REDOX plant has been identified as sodium chloride, or salt, said Ty Blackford, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. vice president.

The powder was found during the inspection in December of the processing plant, which was shut down in 1967, according to a newly released weekly staff report for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

Similar material had been seen in earlier years but not directly on the surveillance path, according to the DNFSB staff report.

Salt was used to neutralize the processing system after it was shut down in 1967. It appeared to be corroding through the stainless steel process piping, according to the DNFSB staff report.

Now that CH2M Hill knows what it is, workers can go back in and clean it up and finish the surveillance of the plant, Blackford said.

The look inside the plant also found significantly more rainwater entering the building that last year, according to the staff report. CH2M Hill plans to recommend repairs, Blackford said.

REDOX, the Reduction-Oxidation Plant, was Hanford's fourth plant built to chemically process fuel irradiated at Hanford reactors to remove plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program. It also recovered uranium from the fuel to reuse. It is 470 feet long and 160 feet wide.

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