HANFORD GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION

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By 1990 nearly 50 years of producing plutonium put approximately 1.70E + 12 liters (450 billion gallons) of liquid wastes into the soil of the 1,518-square kilometer (586-square mile) Hanford Site in southeast Washington State. The liquid releases consisted of chemicals used in laboratory experiments, manufacturing and rinsing uranium fuel, dissolving that fuel after irradiation in Hanford's nuclear reactors, and in liquefying plutonium scraps needed to feed other plutonium-processing operations. Chemicals were also added to the water used to cool Hanford's reactors to prevent corrosion in the reactor tubes. In addition, water and acid rinses were used to clean plutonium ... continued below

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CHARBONEAU, B; THOMPSON, M; WILDE, R.; FORD, B. & GERBER, M.S. February 1, 2006.

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  • Hanford Site (Wash.)
    Publisher Info: Hanford Site (HNF), Richland, WA
    Place of Publication: Richland, Washington

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Description

By 1990 nearly 50 years of producing plutonium put approximately 1.70E + 12 liters (450 billion gallons) of liquid wastes into the soil of the 1,518-square kilometer (586-square mile) Hanford Site in southeast Washington State. The liquid releases consisted of chemicals used in laboratory experiments, manufacturing and rinsing uranium fuel, dissolving that fuel after irradiation in Hanford's nuclear reactors, and in liquefying plutonium scraps needed to feed other plutonium-processing operations. Chemicals were also added to the water used to cool Hanford's reactors to prevent corrosion in the reactor tubes. In addition, water and acid rinses were used to clean plutonium deposits from piping in Hanford's large radiochemical facilities. All of these chemicals became contaminated with radionuclides. As Hanford raced to help win World War II, and then raced to produce materials for the Cold War, these radioactive liquid wastes were released to the Site's sandy soils. Early scientific experiments seemed to show that the most highly radioactive components of these liquids would bind to the soil just below the surface of the land, thus posing no threat to groundwater. Other experiments predicted that the water containing most radionuclides would take hundreds of years to seep into groundwater, decaying (or losing) most of its radioactivity before reaching the groundwater or subsequently flowing into the Columbia River, although it was known that some contaminants like tritium would move quickly. Evidence today, however, shows that many contaminants have reached the Site's groundwater and the Columbia River, with more on its way. Over 259 square kilometers (100 square miles) of groundwater at Hanford have contaminant levels above drinking-water standards. Also key to successfully cleaning up the Site is providing information resources and public-involvement opportunities to Hanford's stakeholders. This large, passionate, diverse, and geographically dispersed community is united in its desire to protect the Columbia River and have a voice in Hanford's future. This paper presents the challenges, and then discusses the progress and efforts underway to reduce the risk posed by contaminated groundwater at Hanford. While Hanford groundwater is not a source of drinking water on or off the Site, there are possible near-shore impacts where it flows into the Columbia River. Therefore, this remediation is critical to the overall efforts to clean up the Site, as well as protect a natural resource.

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  • WM'06 CONFERENCE 02/26/2006 THRU 03/02/2006 TUCSON, AZ

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  • Report No.: DOE-0310-FP Rev 0
  • Grant Number: DE-AC06-96RL13200
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 875793
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc881211

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 9:02 p.m.

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CHARBONEAU, B; THOMPSON, M; WILDE, R.; FORD, B. & GERBER, M.S. HANFORD GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION, article, February 1, 2006; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc881211/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.