Demolition has begun at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Hanford Site’s plutonium finishing plant (PFP) after nearly 20 years of preparation. Heavy equipment is removing portions of the plutonium reclamation facility (PRF), the first of the facility’s four main processing buildings to be demolished. “The PFP is one of the most hazardous buildings on the Hanford Site, and the safe start to demolition is a history-making achievement for site clean-up, the community and the employees doing the work,” said Tom Teynor, the DOE’s manager for the PFP project. The PFP produced approximately two-thirds of the USA’s plutonium during its 40 years of production, leaving the facility heavily contaminated. After production stopped in 1989, employees stabilised and removed the excess plutonium and took out contaminated processing equipment. The Hanford site, in Washington state, was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. The site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world.
Meanwhile, NAC International is to supply NAC-Multi-Purpose Canister dry storage systems and specialised technology to package and store 1,936 radioactive capsules at the US Hanford under a contract awarded by the DOE's contractor, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company. The capsules, stored at the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility, contain radionuclides and wastes generated during the chemical processing of defence fuel. The contract includes design, engineering, and fabrication of the storage units and associated equipment.