Environment and Planning
4:48 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Eleventh Tank Of Radioactive Waste Cleared Out At Hanford

A federal contractor says it’s finished pumping out the radioactive waste from one of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s single-hulled underground tanks.

The federal government says that’s the eleventh tank cleared out so far.

Contractors used a small robot that is somewhat like a remote-control bulldozer. It has hoses and water jets, that pushes and sprays and blasts the waste around in the tank to scrape it toward the suction point in the tank. That helps them get the waste because some of this waste is like hard salt cake, and it’s really difficult to remove.

The cleared-out waste went to another underground tank that has two hulls. Last fall, Hanford officials discovered one of those tanks has an internal leak.

In all, there are 177 tanks and 56 million-gallons of radioactive waste at Hanford.

On the Web:

Emptying old tanks - Washington River Protection Solutions