A lab housed in a nondescript complex in the Hanford 300 Area has joined an elite club.
The American Nuclear Society honored the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Radiochemical Processing Laboratory with its Nuclear Historic Landmark Award.
The award honors a 64-year mission that started in service to the Hanford site and now involves helping the defense, energy, medical and other industries tackle thorny nuclear questions in a lab setting.
Bob Coward, president of the 11,000-member nuclear society, presented the bronze plaque to PNNL officials Monday in a brief ceremony attended by U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside.
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Coward complimented the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory and its staff for its longevity, calling it a testimony to both the quality of its work and the commitment of its scientists to an ever-evolving mission.
“This is a moment that everybody here should really be proud of because not many organizations, not many entities, can accomplish what RPL and PNNL have accomplished,” he said.
ANS honored the Richland laboratory for its work to develop isotope separations for industrial, medical and national security use, for commercializing and patenting medical isotopes to treat cancer, processing waste from the Hanford cleanup, developing dosimetry capsules for production of nuclear energy and its decontamination analysis.
It is the only U.S. lab certified by the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization and carries out research to ensure countries around the globe are in compliance with nonproliferation treaties.
“RPL makes it possible to make life changing nuclear solutions a reality,” Coward said.
The society has honored nuclear facilities with the historic award on and off since 1985.
The Richland laboratory was honored its work to develop isotope separations for industrial, medical and national security use, for commercializing and patenting medical isotopes to treat cancer, processing waste from the Hanford cleanup, developing dosimetry capsules for production of nuclear energy and its decontamination analysis.
Hanford’s B Reactor, the first large-scale reactor ever built, was added 1992.
Unlike B Reactor, which was ordered shut down in 1968, the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory is very much a working facility, providing continuing research support to the Hanford cleanup as well as energy, industrial national security and medical communities.
“We plan to be here for a long time and continue to use this facility for many more years, said Julie Erickson, deputy manager of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest site office in Richland.
The Nuclear Historic Landmark program debuted 32 years ago.
A sample of honorees include Ames Laboratory Uranium Purification, Yankee Nuclear Power Station, Westinghouse Nuclear Training Reactor, Molten Salt Reactor, Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project, the University of Florida Training Reactor, Intense Pulsed Neutron Source at Argonne National Laboratory and Japan Research Reactor No. 1, and ZED-2 Heavy Water Critical Facility.
Visit ans.org/honors/recipients/va-nuclandmark for more about the program.