Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hanford cleanup?

Just caught this article about the state and the Department of Energy finally agreeing on a plan to " clean up" the Hanford nuclear site. If you want to know why I'm hell bent against nuclear energy here's a couple of things. When I first got my Haz Mat certification and that was in 1994 the state was just beginning to start this process. There was several billion dollars committed to the project and that was just for the legal process to pay for the laywers so they could sit around and point fingers at each other. At that time the technology didn't exist to even begin any type of actual work. So it's now 15 years later and what did they land up with? They call it a "clean up". It's not. The best anyone could do is contain what's there. There's no way to process nuclear waste into something harmless. You can condense it to a smaller form but the half life is in the thousands of years.
Did I ever consider working in that field? No. Not after I saw how they dealt with the stuff. On one reported accident workers were measuring a tank half full of contaminated water by taking a rock and a string and dropping it into the tank. When they pulled it out they contaminated themselves. Well Duh! When I spoke to a worker about this a few years later he said that was standard proceedure. Another standard practice was to check for radiation on the floors. If a high level was detected a worker would dawn the proper gear grap a gallon bucket of lead paint and throw it on the area. But the final job killing thing for me was that you had to be monitored for radiation which isn't bad until you consider that once you hit max dosage for radiation that's it job over and try and find a new job with that in your background.

So go check out the article and note when the "clean up" begins and when it ends. Hanford


Tom Harper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Harper said...

That sounds like a good case against nuclear energy; not that we needed yet another one.

Randal Graves said...

Are you trying to tell me that being exposed to radiation doesn't give one orange hair and superpowers?

Damn you, Stan Lee, lying bastard.

Holte Ender said...

Nuclear power makes me a little nervous, of course we are told it's perfectly safe if you take the right precautions, but all this sounds a little Homer Simpson-ish.

S.W. Anderson said...

Demeur, I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to get involved in Hanford cleanup. Especially given what you said about maxing your exposure.

I've been reading about Hanford cleanup for decades, going back to the 1970's. I'm convinced it will always be a journey, never a destination.

Holte, the technology and engineering knowhow to safely run reactors and generate power is readily available. What's not readily available, as Demeur points out in part, is a safe, practical and economical way to deal with nuclear waste.

Coming up with some means of neutralizing the stuff would be one hell of a gift to all mankind — maybe second only to conquering cancer — if only someone could do it.

Roger Owen Green said...

the pro-nuke folks are always saying that "future technology" will neutralize any threat; I've never been convinced. I'm willing to be convinced, but I'm just not buying it yet.

Holte Ender said...

By perfectly safe, I mean the whole process from beginning to end, which includes the waste of course. You can't call it, safely running a reactor, if you are generating, not only good clean electricity, but deadly poison too.

darkblack said...

'On one reported accident workers were measuring a tank half full of contaminated water by taking a rock and a string and dropping it into the tank.'

Why didn't they just jump in and start doing the backstroke?
If they make 10 laps, blow the All Clear and it's Miller time.