Report says Hanford nuclear waste capsules at risk via The Washington Times

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – Nearly 2,000 capsules containing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation should be moved, in part because of earthquake danger, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General.
The 1,936 capsules contain radioactive cesium and strontium and are held in a giant pool of water on the Hanford site, the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site.
The report released Wednesday said a severe earthquake could cause a loss of power or water in the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility in central Hanford.
The Tri-City Herald ( said the report suggests the capsules should be moved to dry storage as soon as possible.
“We acknowledge the budgetary challenges facing the department and its impact on moving the capsules into dry storage,” report author David Sedillo wrote. “However we suggest that the manager (of the) Richland Operations Office expeditiously proceed with its plans to pursue a dry storage alternative … at the earliest possible time frame.”
The capsules, which are about 22 inches long, hold material with 106 million curies of radioactivity, or 32 percent of the total radioactivity at Hanford. The 13 feet of water covering them helps cool the capsules and protects workers from radiation.

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