Following a partial tunnel collapse in May at Hanford’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, a facility unused since the 1980s, a report from DOE and its contractor for the area, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., says a second facility tunnel, which once processed chemicals needed in nuclear production, does not meet current standards.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says the new contracting arrangement pioneered by Bechtel National Inc. on the Dept. of Energy’s Hanford nuclear-waste site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant—a $16.8-billion project now four times above its original budget, with 17 years of added schedule—comes with risk to taxpayers.
It really doesn’t come at a great surprise that the second waste tunnel associated with the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX) at the Dept. of Energy’s Hanford Nuclear Waste Site in southeast Washington is at risk of collapse.
The completion of the first of two 300-ton nuclear waste melters at Hanford’s Vit Plant has contractor Bechtel National Inc. looking forward to continued progress on what is arguably the nation’s most complex construction project.
As demolition continued on the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant on June 8, one of the two dozen air monitoring stations positioned around the site sounded an alarm after detecting low levels of contamination.