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Biological Sciences

Hanford Site Waste Issues


Hanford Site - DOE's Largest Legacy Waste Site ENLARGE

The 586-square-mile Hanford Site is the U.S. Department of Energy's largest legacy waste site. Located along the Columbia River in southeastern Washington State, Hanford played a pivotal role in the nation's defense for more than 40 years, beginning in the 1940s with the Manhattan Project. Today, Hanford is engaged in the world's largest environmental cleanup project, with a number of overlapping technical, political, regulatory, financial and cultural issues. These include:

  • More than 1000 contaminated soil sites contaminated with Pu, 137Cs, 90Sr, U, and 99Tc
  • 177 storage tanks containing 53 million gallons of high- and low-level radioactive waste. Of these, 67 are suspected leakers. Contaminants are 137Cs, 90Sr, U, 99Tc, and Cr
  • More than 15 well-developed groundwater plumes contaminated with U, Cr, 99Tc, 129I , 90Sr, nitrate, and charge-transfer contamination
  • Four major reprocessing canyon complexes.

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