Hanford

Highly radioactive capsules need safer storage at Hanford. Hear plans

A hot cell at the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility in the center of the Hanford nuclear reservation could play a role in preparing radioactive cesium and strontium capsules to be moved to dry storage.
A hot cell at the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility in the center of the Hanford nuclear reservation could play a role in preparing radioactive cesium and strontium capsules to be moved to dry storage.

Back-to-back public meetings are planned Wednesday in Richland on work to move highly radioactive capsules to safer storage at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Radioactive cesium and strontium were removed from Hanford’s underground waste storage tanks from 1974 to 1985 and packaged into capsules that are stored in a pool at the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility in central Hanford.

As the pool has aged, concerns have been raised about whether it could leak after a severe earthquake or the operation of its other safety features could be lost.

At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday the Department of Energy will discuss plans for modifications to the building where the capsules are stored to allow the capsules to be packaged for dry storage and moved from the building.

An hour later DOE will start the second meeting to discuss plans for constructing a reinforced concrete pad near the current facility for dry storage of the capsules.

Plans call for clean air to be passively drawn into storage casks and warm air to be released, eliminating the need for fans or other mechanical equipment.

Both meetings are at the Richland Public Library.

Written comments on plans also will be accepted until Jan. 31. Information on submitting comments is posted at www.hanford.gov under the event calendar for Wednesday.

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