Office of Environmental Management

Hanford Site Hosts Public Meeting on Proposed Dry Storage Pad for Capsules

October 10, 2017

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Members of the public recently attended an informational meeting to learn about EM’s plans for building a dry storage pad for cesium and strontium capsules currently stored in a water-filled pool.
Members of the public recently attended an informational meeting to learn about EM’s plans for building a dry storage pad for cesium and strontium capsules currently stored in a water-filled pool.

RICHLAND, Wash. – More than 40 members of the public attended an EM Richland Operations Office (RL) informational meeting recently on the proposed location, construction, and operation of a dry storage pad for 1,936 cesium and strontium capsules submerged in water at an aging Hanford Site facility.

   The capsules are stored in the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility (WESF). The water is needed to protect workers from high levels of radioactivity and to cool the cesium and strontium. 

   At the meeting, RL Physical Scientist Julie Reddick explained how workers would transfer the capsules from the water to a hot cell in WESF for packaging in new universal capsule sleeves. The sleeves would be placed in new casks and transported to the dry storage pad.

   “While the capsules are currently in a safe configuration, WESF is an aging facility,” Reddick said. “Dry storage would significantly reduce the possibility of a release of radioactive material, should an unlikely event cause the loss of pool storage water.”

   RL would begin transferring the capsules to dry storage in 2022. Construction of the dry storage pad would begin in 2019 and take about a year. It would be built southwest of WESF, which is more than six miles from the Columbia River. 

The site of the proposed capsule storage pad is southwest of the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility, part of B Plant, and more than six miles from the Columbia River.
The site of the proposed capsule storage pad is southwest of the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility, part of B Plant, and more than six miles from the Columbia River.

   The meeting was required as part of an application to the Washington Department of Ecology and a precursor to submittal of a permitting application. It was intended for members of the public to ask questions and learn about proposed waste management activities.  

   Members of the public can provide comments on the dry storage pad proposal during the waste permit modification process, which includes another public meeting on a yet-to-be determined date. 

   For questions, contact RL’s Rich Buel at richard.buel@rl.doe.gov, or P.O. Box 550, Richland, WA, 99352, or at (509) 376-3375; and Randy Bradbury with the Washington Department of Ecology, at Hanford@ecy.wa.gov, or 3100 Port of Benton Blvd, Richland, WA, 99354, or at (509) 372-7954.

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