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Hanford officials move nuclear waste from Columbia River via FiberOne

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have removed the last of the highly radioactive sludge stored in underwater containers near The Columbia River.

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Perry says the project came in ahead of schedule and under budget after 10 years of work. Perry says those aren’t words usually associated with nuclear waste cleanup.

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Perry plans to visit Hanford Oct. 1 for a ceremony marking the milestone.
He says completion of the project shows Northwest residents they can trust the Energy Department to perform critical work on time.

Hanford was established by the Manhattan Project in World War II to make plutonium, a key ingredient in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The site, near Richland, Washington, went on to produce most of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

As a result, the site also contains the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste. The most dangerous is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, some of which have leaked.

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The sludge is highly radioactive because it contains particles of deteriorated irradiated fuel that was not processed at the end of the Cold War to remove plutonium.

Instead, the fuel was stored in water-filled cooling basins about 400 yards from the Columbia River.

Hanford contractor CH2M HIll Plateau Remediation Co., owned by Jacobs Engineering, spent a decade on the sludge transfer project, most of that making extensive preparations.

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