DOE: First Batch of Radioactive Sludge Removed


An update from Hanford on cleanup work at the site. Below is a release from the DOE on the cleanup of radioactive sludge:


Workers have started moving highly radioactive material, called sludge, away from the Columbia River, marking a significant milestone in the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s cleanup of the Hanford Site in Washington State.


Today, DOE contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M HILL) safely transferred the first large container of highly radioactive sludge from a basin next to a former plutonium production reactor to dry storage in the center of the site.  Today’s transfer is the first of six shipments this summer to remove the most radioactive material.  At the same time, a separate system is being built to remove the rest of the sludge from the basin by the end of 2015. 


“Removing the sludge reduces the risk from highly radioactive material being stored next to the Columbia River,” said Matt McCormick, Manager, DOE Richland Operations Office.  “This sludge has been stored underwater in the basin for more than 30 years, and today marks a turning point in our cleanup. This is a great step toward reducing risk to the Columbia River. My thanks go out to the Hanford workers who made sure the work was done safely.”