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Hanford Superfund Program

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    A Superfund Program is the federal government’s program to clean up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. (U. S Environmental Protection Agency, 2010) Here are a select few sites that I picked that are in Washington. Area is where the nine former plutonium production reactors are found. These reactors were built from 1943 through 1965.

    These reactors were built along the banks of the Columbia River because of the abundance of hydro electric power and cooling water needed by the reactors during its operation. Area is the home of the fuel manufacturing operations at the Site and also the experimental and laboratory facilities. At one time, six small nuclear reactors were located in the 300 Area. This area is only a few miles away from the city of Richland.

    Clean Up The clean up for Hanford is a very expansive project. The Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, which covers about 65 acres, is one of the largest environmental cleanup construction projects in the world. (Department of Energy , 2010) “During cleanup operations, where the waste will end up after it is removed from the ground is based upon the kind of waste it is. A majority of the solid wastes, contaminated soil, and building debris will be taken to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility located on the Hanford Site.

    This facility, known as ERDF, is regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and is basically a huge landfill. ERDF accepts waste in disposal areas called “cells”. Cells are built two at a time, with each pair of cells measuring 70-feet deep, and 500-feet by 1000-feet at the base. 2. 8 million tons of waste can be disposed of in each pair of cells at ERDF, and once each pair of cells is filled up the waste is covered with clean dirt and a soil fixative to ensure that the waste will safely and permanently remain in the landfill. (Department of Energy , 2010) The clean up for waste begins at the “Vit” or Vitrification Plant.

    This plant is Hanford’s massive complex that is used to turn 53,000,000 gallons of radioactive and chemical wastes that were generated during Hanford’s Plutonium production mission. They do this by putting it into a stable glass form for permanent disposal. As the materials are heated up to around 2100 degrees F the materials become red hot and bond together. Then this “liquid glass” is then poured into stainless steel canisters where they are cooled. Department of Energy , 2010) There are over thirty projects and facilities that are related to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. All of these facilities and projects are being cleaned up by profession companies and the waste is being disposed of properly. I don’t believe that you can point a finger as to who created this problem because Hanford wasn’t just a waste dump. Hanford provided power and jobs to thousands of people. The Hanford site cleanup will take over 20 years from start to finish.

    But even with the cleanup it is still being in a great steady flow of people to the Tri-Cities. Without Hanford I truly believe that these cities would be ruined. There is so much that depend on Hanford.

    Works Cited

    1. Department of Energy . (2010, March 8). Department of Energy- Hanford. Retrieved June 12, 2010, from http://www. hanford. gov/page. cfm/
    2. WTP U. S Environmental Protection Agency. (2010, March 18). Superfund. Retrieved June 12, 2010, from Cleaning Up the Nation’s Hazardous Waste Sites: http://www. epa. gov/superfund/

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