From: Roger McClellan <roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**att.net>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hanford Situation
Date: Mon, 15 May 2017 16:48:20 +0000
Reply-To: Roger McClellan <roger.o.mcclellan**At_Symbol_Here**ATT.NET>
Hanford Decommissioning Incident
I strongly agree with Harry's assessment. The extent to which this story blossomed on line and was circulated around the world is testimony to radiation phobia and the " Hanford Nuclear Phenomena". I know the facility involved very well having grown up in Richland , WA and worked at the Hanford complex from 1957 through 1964.
The key components of the Hanford complex are (1) a uranium fuel fabrication facility , now decommissioned, (2) multiple once through water cooled , carbon moderated reactors (now decommissioned) used to produce irradiated fuel containing plutonium -239, (3) a set of separation plants used to separate the Pu form U and fission products, (4) a complex of storage tanks for holding radioactive waste from the separation plant, and (5) a complex of research laboratories. The PUREX facility was built in the early 1950s, my father was an inspector during construction and he would spend the rest of his career as an operator in the PREX plant. The "working " part of the plant was a "canyon" containing all the equipment operated by remote control. Obsolete equipment was removed by trains with 'blank cars" between the car with "hot items" and the operators. Hence, the "train tunnels" mentioned in the story. My personal assessment is that a super abundance of caution led to the evacuation and shut down of the site when the tunnel collapse was discovered. One need to understand the unique history of the Hanford Operations, the high level of concern for radiation protection, tense labor -management relations, the role of Hanford in the regional economy (from a distance I view it as one of the longest running WPA projects, maintaining the work force is of paramount concern) and a high degree of political interest. Note how quickly a US Senator arrived for a briefing!!!.
It is interesting that the initial story contained a photo of an old Hanford reactor. Apparently, the news files did not contain a photo of the mile long, rather drab and dull, PUREX facility. I suspect some of the workers at the site were grand children of my high school classmates , I was in the class of 1954 from Richland High School. Our mascot was changed in late 1945 to "The Bombers" with a mushroom cloud as the symbol. I suspect some current workers were surprised to learn of the railroad tunnels. I was aware of them having evaluated the potential environmental impacts of PUREX as part of a graduate school project in the early 1960s. I recall my father being surprised that I had a blue print of the facility and the a flow diagram for the PUREX process, he was convinced I was violating security rules.
I suspect we will continue to see stories like this related to nuclear issues. The budget is substantial for continuing clean up of the old legacy nuclear complex facilities such as Hanford including the tank farm. There are also major issues around the future of the Nuclear Triad (land -based missiles, submarines and air craft for deliver of nuclear weapons), nuclear waste disposal and the future of nuclear power. Tongue in cheek -- the Hanford costs just went up because they will need to now very carefully plan and budget for removal of the 53 truck loads of soil dumped, perhaps needlessly into the tunnel!
On Monday, May 15, 2017 8:35 AM, Harry Elston <helston**At_Symbol_Here**MIDWESTCHEMSAFETY.COM> wrote:
Fake/chemophobic/radiophobic and just plain wrong. I prefer credible news sources that don't print all in red telling me the world is ending.
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Julie Fry
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 09:45
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Hanford Situation
Anyone care to comment on this?
Julie P. Fry
Cannabis Industry Consultant
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