Richland, Washington — A group of Japanese scientists, government officials and company representatives visited the sleepy town of Richland, Washington, in February to seek advice on cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
“There isn’t really a magic bullet,” said Wayne Johnson, a division director at the U.S. government’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where the Japanese delegation met with nuclear cleanup specialists.
Even within Hanford, different areas of contamination require different approaches, Johnson said.
An additional problem that has yet to be resolved at Hanford, and which will bedevil the Fukushima cleanup, is where to store waste that is too toxic to be left on-site, and too hazardous to be buried.
Paul Vinthner, who spent 38 years working as a physicist at Hanford, now leads tour groups to the facility’s B-reactor, the first full-scale plutonium-producing unit in the world.
Vinthner has no fears about entering the site on a daily basis.
“I’m convinced that they’re working at it, and they’ll get rid of the (waste) and be able to use some of the area for other needs,” he said.
In the eyes of others, however, such optimism is unfounded.
“It’s my personal opinion that my government can’t resolve the situation here,” said Lori McMillan, who lives near the site and suffers from cancer she believes was caused by exposure to radioactive materials.
Continue reading at Infamous Hanford Site may yield nuke cleanup clues