For more than 25 years, engineers have labored over difficult cleanup work at Hanford. There is no question that Hanford has had a profound impact on our country, playing a major role in the top-secret project to build the first atomic bomb. Today, it continues to have a significant influence as engineers test and apply new technologies to safely store nuclear waste. While engineers diligently work to store nuclear waste at Hanford to keep future generations surrounding the Tri-Cities and the many communities up and down the Columbia Basin safe, the experience gained at Hanford stands to influence cleanup strategies at nuclear and hazardous waste sites around the world.
While the cleanup work at Hanford will eventually wind down, the Tri-City community is just getting started on important work around the world. Today, the Hanford economy is not just about U.S. government contracts. Hanford companies are lending their expertise and technology to international waste sites, which diversifies the region's economy. The Tri-City community has a desirable work force with skills and experience that's unmatched. The word is getting out.
It's the people of the Tri-Cities who make it unique. There is no other place where you can find the concentration of talent and experience dealing with the most challenging nuclear waste management issues. From design to engineering and testing, it's all done here in the Tri-Cities, which makes it an ideal meeting spot and information source for other nations and communities to visit and learn about innovative waste management technologies. In fact, companies like Kurion -- now triple its original size after the acquisition of Richland-based Vista Engineering -- is taking the team's expertise gained at Hanford and applying it at places halfway around the world, such as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, U.K.'s Sellafield site and more.
As an engineer and a Tri-City resident, it is rewarding to see how we can make a difference. The Tri-City community is playing a significant role in solving some of the world's most pressing waste management issues.
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For example, our community is laying the foundation for converting nuclear waste into glass to store it and permanently isolate it from the environment. At Kurion's engineering design and test facility in Richland, the same vitrification technology is also being applied to treat hazardous waste like asbestos. Vitrification technology can be used to destroy the dangerous needlelike fibers of asbestos when it's turned into glass, rendering the waste harmless for safe disposal.
During the recent Fukushima Recovery Forum in Tokyo, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy recognized Kurion for its role at Fukushima during the initial crisis and the company's ongoing assistance today (see video at http://bit.ly/kennedytalks). The majority of the design work for the world's first external water filtration system for the Fukushima plant was done right here in the Tri-Cities.
The future looks bright for a post-Hanford economy, and the employees of Kurion are proud to be a part of the Tri-City community and contributing to its future success. Right here in the Tri-Cities, we are doing important, meaningful work that will be felt around the world.