RICHLAND, Wash. – The Richland Operations Office (RL) and cleanup contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) are off to a strong start on one of EM’s key construction priorities for 2022, with workers preparing to safely enclose, or “cocoon,” the seventh of nine former reactors on the Hanford Site.
Watch this video for more on this critical construction project.
Crews have completed backfilling and compacting the area around the former K East Reactor with approximately 34,000 cubic yards of a sand and gravel mixture. This month, workers began pouring a 6-foot-thick concrete foundation to support construction of a massive steel structure over the reactor building. The foundation will be completed in multiple pours over the next month. The steel enclosure is designed to protect the reactor building while the radioactivity in the reactor core decays over the next several decades, making it safer and easier to complete disposition of the reactor in the future.
“A mild winter has allowed us to make excellent progress on this critical risk-reduction project,” said Mark French, RL Division director for Hanford’s Central Plateau Cleanup Project. “Placing the K East Reactor in interim safe storage is a key component of our mission to complete cleanup along the Columbia River.”
“It’s exciting to see this project really starting to take shape,” said Travis Creach, CPCCo construction manager. “We expect to complete the foundation in March, with work on the enclosure set to begin this spring.”
The K East Reactor operated from 1955 to 1971 and will be the seventh of Hanford’s nine former reactors to be placed in interim safe storage. The K West Reactor will be the eighth. The ninth Hanford reactor, the B Reactor, is now a national historical landmark and part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The K East Reactor cocooning project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
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