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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 22, 2012 4:32 PM. The previous post in this blog was Get down with Sustainable Susan. The next post in this blog is Battling City Hall at every turn. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hanford waste "cleanup": $12.3 billion for what?

Whatever the nucle-heads are constructing up there, it will probably never work.

Comments (13)

In addition to the discouraging reports about cleanup of existing radioactive waste, the continuing worry is that Hanford will become the default repository for waste from the nation's nukes. That waste accumulates.

In Brattleboro, New Orleans, and White Plains today, there were public efforts to avert that accumulation. A 93yo woman arrested in Brattleboro opined:

"'As I was walking down, all I could think of was Fukushima and the suffering of all the people, and I don't want that to happen to New England,' said [Frances] Crowe in referring to the Japanese nuclear reactor damaged last year after an earthquake and tsunami.

When asked how many times she'd been arrested, she answered: 'Not enough.'"

"In a coordinated action in New Orleans, the headquarters of Vermont Yankee's parent company, Entergy Nuclear, another group of seven activists were arrested after they went into the building and refused to leave, police said. The Journal News reported that five others also were arrested at Entergy offices in White Plains, N.Y.

Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley said the New Orleans protesters live near the Vermont plant and traveled to Louisiana to request a meeting with Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard. They didn't get that meeting before they were arrested."

Meanwhile, a radio spot report today stated that the wind turbines in the Bonneville grid have been producing the electricity of four nuclear plants, but I have not been successful locating mention of such a report in the daily of record. BPA's own website offers:

"Wind turbines in the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission grid generated over 4,000 megawatts for the first time on Sunday, March 11, producing nearly twice as much energy as that generated by coal, gas and nuclear plants connected to BPA’s system at that time."

The O does offer this piece from the skeptical Portland Aristotle,
which concludes:

"Wind power costs more to generate less electricity while killing more birds each year than BP’s oil spill on the gulf coast. How can this be called sustainable?"

The technology exists and works. The problem was the inability to convert the technology into a scale that will work in Hanford. About twenty years ago, I was invited to lunch with the then Hanford director (in the private executive dinning room with private servers dressed in white like out of a movie). He handed me a crystallized waste which was about the size of a small fist. The crystallization of the waste was supposed to be the next big project in Hanford.

A couple of years later, a relative's friend in California used Women Minority Enterprise to win the first bid in the first attempt to build a full scale plant. Her company went public and the stock price went through the roof. After a couple of years and millions spent (government, private and public investors money), the company went bankrupt. The stockholders lawsuit went on forever and the people I know just settled it about two years ago. The technology works, but has not been in the scale that makes sense for the amount and size of the waste in Hanford.

Tom C I'm struggling to understand your remarks. What do you mean by "The technology works but has not been in the scale that makes sense for the amount and size of the waste in Hanford"? Might $12.3 billion be enough to increase the scale enough to more realistically deal with the waste at Hanford? Where can one read more in depth about this technology? What experiments have been done with it?

I'm no fan of the (lax) way the nuclear industry is run, but I'm confident that they will, eventually, get the machinery running. It is complex, but nothing compared to the creation of the plutonium. Which the did very well. As for containment/cleaning of the waste already in the earth/water that will not meet expectations.

As for the government's inability to initiate and succeed in large projects? The atomic bomb program went well. And, yes, it was actually operated and overseen by private industry. We have become smarter. But I fear we have become greedier as well.

Way overbudget and way behind schedule: it's the nuclear way.

This is not the highly radioactive, dangerous and long term threat to the Columnia River Basin nuclear waste dump you're looking for... move along please.

Best case, the vit plant becomes Wapato on The River, a WPA project that provides some construction jobs for a while (keeping the hush money pipeline going another decade or so while more of the guys who know all the secrets die off) and then gently erodes away for a few millennia, causing no harm to anyone.

Worse case their hubris carries them away and they try to run a batch or two through it, and they wind up having to build a Chernobyl style entombment over it ... Which, when you think about Bechtel and Fluor and ch2m and the boyz, is probably seen as even better.

Well, it's the old 'melt your nuke swords into glass scarabs and plough them' story. First told by Isaac Asimov, 1959, seeing the impossibility for 1,ooo,ooo-year contamination to be disposed of by mere 50,ooo-year-old humankind.

Way before there was today's tonnages of contamination, Asimov said glassify it and anchor the glass ingots at the bottom of the Mariana Trench to be subducted into the reifying bowels of the planet. The unmanageable and inexorable armeggeden of radioactive contamination was totally seen back then, at the very outset in the 1950s. Before the 'arms race'. Nothing has changed in fifty years; We The Folks and some sort of primal subconscious 'suicide wish' keeping our (Pretty, golum golum) lethal 'gun' in the house is clearly visible still today.

The USG in the '90s sort of started into the Asimov solution for disposal. But then the unlawful Supreme Court illicitly installed the Bushtard bozo(s) who said, 'Oh, NO, don't put glass logs on the bottom of the ocean because ENEMIES might dive down and recover it and melt the glass and refine out the radioactivity and build themselves a bomb and take over America.' It cannot be measured which ones are stupider: the lowbrow bureaucrats who say such stupidity, or the lowbrow TVaddicts who accept and 'believe in' it.

Now fifteen years of stalling later, and with a ten-times bigger poison-pill pile o' contaminated crap, it's back to Plan A (for Asimov). Even though it seemed to me that the Bushtards meant to get a massive amount of it out of sight and out of mind in a decade, by dumping megatons of depleted uranium on the cradle o' civilization along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers ... but not counting the pounds of it brought home to roost being snuck back in-country by returning Sand Wars military vets -- in their lungs.

So what's to be done? No nukes period. Meanwhile, the one building big enough to hold all of it as glassification proceeds, is the Pentagon. Transport and pile it there.

12 Billion (more) for (more) Hanford hem-&-haw? No problem; the cost can be covered by furloughing all DoD employees for only 4 weeks!

But seriously folks, leaked plutonium is found as far downriver as the Glenn Jackson I-205 bridge. So there you have it.

The linked News Tribune item may open some eyes. I've seen it before, though, so my attention-deficient eye caught sight of another item on that webpage, also in the News Tribune. It's a report on the condition of the Elwha River ... where delighted TV went giddy with glee to get footage of a dynamited dam last year showing the ENEMYification of environmentalists ... and where no TV has gone back for follow-up footage showing the Natural Beauty re-blooming.

Bee. I didn't remember the details. I asked one of the former CFOs of that company. That company was called Allied Technology Group, NASD symbol back then was ATGC. From that info, a search of the internet turns up a copy of the 1997 contract (scroll down to read the part on radioactive waste)

and the link about the status of the equipment

If you keep searching, you should be able to find some of the stockholders lawsuits too.

I have no clue why the equipment is still in cold storage taking up space and not being used or removed. But anyone who has dealt with the government would not be surprised about things sitting around and not get tested or used.

Thank you all for the research... Occupy Occupied the DNFSB... this was the first speaker...

In my humble opinion... the largest problem is the "safety culture" Because they do not talk about the UNSEEN genetic hazards instead they make them know by creating an unsafe work environment that reflects the stress of the psyche's unresolved recognition of danger.

Oo00ooOh... and can't remember if it was the DOE or Frank Russo of Bechtel that said..$2million a day. The Video will be posted Monday They are taking testimony till June. Thanks Jack... and To Randy... This is your poison well... stay away or risk the dissent and learn to eat crow. Cause sometimes things like this only adds to what already gets folks pissed off and mean.

I might be one of the few pro-nuke guys around. I live near-ish to Hanford too.

I think it's the alternatives that keep me going back to nuclear power. We have to have power. We have to have more more more all the time. That's not changing. So what's the solution? Besides sterilization?

I am amazed any of this is called new. It is not. In the early 1980's, a decade before Hanford was the Savannah River DWPF project. That was the precursor to Hanford, and before that was a smaller facility in Illinois?. We lost something in all the conversations.
The DNFS Board is performing safety oversight on 19 DOE design and construction projects with an estimated value of more than $25 billion, including the $12.3 billion Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.
Board’s statutory employee ceiling from 100 to 150 full-time staff to accommodate mandated additional nuclear weapons oversight responsibilities.
With 109 Staff now, to oversee 19 programs worth 25 Billion dollars. There is 200K$ allocated to the Inspector General positions, those are the guys that count the beans, 200K is one person plus expenses.
REALLY, for 25 Billion in projects? And that is only the DNFSB acronyms funding, add DOE and the rest of the acronyms, who understands that Macro drivers of this industry?


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