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Earth Government Science Technology

Radioactivity Cleanup At Hanford Nuclear Reservation, 25 Years On 123

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "The cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington was supposed to be entering its final stages by now. The reality is far from that. The cleanup was to be managed under the 'Tri-Party Agreement', signed on May 15, 1989, which was supposed to facilitate cooperation between the agencies involved. Today, underfunded and overwhelmed by technical problems, the effort is decades behind schedule. Adding to the frustrations for stakeholders and watchdogs is a bureaucratic slipperiness on the part of the Federal Department of Energy. As one watchdog put it, 'We are constantly frustrated by how easily the Department of Energy slips out of agreements in the Tri-Party Agreement.'"
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Radioactivity Cleanup At Hanford Nuclear Reservation, 25 Years On

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  • by gmueckl ( 950314 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:49PM (#47034345)

    Above ground has two disadvantages that come to my mind:

    1. You have to guarantee for the maintenance of the storage facility. Otherwise it will decay and expose the stored material to the outside world. This is a problem in the long term because you have to preserve the technology and knowledge on how to do it as well as keep the personnel around.

    2. Any kind of waste is better protected from any forces on the surface when buried underground. Natural disasters and man-made weapons or tools can destroy anything we can build above ground and expose its content. This is a lot harder when you have hundreds of meters of solid ground to dig through first. Nukes detonated on or above the surface won't do that much damage down there and won't form craters deep enough to release any waste stored down there. And those are the most powerful weapons we currently have.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:05PM (#47034447)

    Prediction: The rest of the discussion will be nuke fans lamenting the lack of proper storage facilities and breeder reactors, without proposing any practical solutions.

    Bad prediction. Some proponents of moving off of fossil fuels include nuclear along with renewables and point out that 4th gen nuclear reactors will consume the waste of previous gen reactors as fuel, and the waste from 4th gen only remains hazardous for a few centuries rather than tens of thousands of years. So there, a practical solution to getting rid of current waste. Practical as in 4th gen test reactors are up and running.

    There we have it, a forward looking plan for a solution. Not a backward looking lament about what we could have but did not do or did not build.

    In other words, more blame, mostly aimed at environmentalists even though this is primarily a financial and regulatory problem.

    Actually various environmentalists are coming over to the above. They've looked at the science and realize that renewables alone won't prevent the continued use of coal and other fossil fuels as billions of people in the developing world demand more and more electricity. They admit that 3rd gen reactors are far safer then current reactors and that 4th gen can help eliminate a very dangerous existing stockpile of waste.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:52PM (#47035261)

    Posting Non-AC 'cause I don't fear being S-worded.

    It's odd how words are perceived differently in different parts of the world. The word "socialist" is by no means an insult in most parts of Europe. Hell, more than one country has parties in power that have "socialist" somewhere in their name. Not that it matters too much these days anymore.

    OTOH, you might want to watch out who you call "Republican" around some parts. The Republicans [] are a German right-wing party with little, if any, political impact.

    So, in general, if you feel like calling me a socialist, be my guest. But don't you DARE calling me a Republican!

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller