K-Basin Clean Up
by Anna King
RICHLAND, WA -Department of Energy officials at Hanford announced Thursday they've cleaned up one of their pools.
It's called the K-East Reactor Basin. At the bottom of the pool was a radioactive mixture of sand, electronic waste and thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods.
DOE manager Dave Brockman says workers had to devise complex machinery and operate it remotely to deal with the inconsistent goo.
Dave Brockman: "There's sludge and there's fuel pieces in that sludge. They are just the loose pieces laying down there and you discover them. We had to collect the fuel pieces and the sludge and collect those. We had areas down there where the sludge was six feet deep."
The job took about 10 years longer to complete than expected.
The K-Basin was built in the '50s. Before all the sludge was removed, it leaked 15 million gallons right near the Columbia River.
Now there's another tank to clean up, called the K-West Basin. First, government contractors have to drain the radioactive water, and then start in on the sludge.
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