High-risk demolition of former Hanford plutonium plant could resume early as next week
- Hanford Nuclear Site, Benton County, WA
High-risk demolition of a once nuclear weapons production plant could recommence next week, nearly two years following the most dangerous work that had to be halted because of safety concerns.
Production at the most dangerous portions of demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation had to be halted in December 2017 after particles of the radioactive substance contaminated workers and the environment. But lower risk demolition has continued.
The Tri-City Herald reports that demolition work on the most contaminated portions of the 1940s-era plant could resume as early as next week.
The plant was part of the plutonium production process at the Hanford Site, located near the Tri-Cities. Plutonium is a crucial ingredient in nuclear weapons, and this factory produced about two-thirds of the nation's supply during the Cold War.
The state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have lifted the stop-work order they issued in 2017.