Hanford Sets Meeting on Tunnel 2 Plans

A public meeting has been scheduled for March 14 at 5 p.m. in Richland, Wash., so area residents can learn more about the plans to finish filling and stabilizing two large tunnels there that have been used to store contaminated waste.

A 60-day public comment period is under way by the U.S. Department of Energy Richland Operations Office, and a public meeting has been scheduled for March 14 at 5 p.m. in Richland, Wash., so area residents can learn more about the plans to finish filling and stabilizing two large tunnels there that have been used to store waste. The comment period ends April 12 on the proposed Class 3 Permit Modification to the Hanford Dangerous Waste Permit.

The tunnels are located at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction (PUREX) Plant in the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site near Richland. From 1956 to 1988, the plant processed spent nuclear reactor fuel and recovered plutonium, uranium, and other radioactive isotopes. The waste in the tunnels mostly consists of large equipment components from the plant and other on-site sources.

A 20-foot section of the roof of Tunnel 1 collapsed in May 2017. The operations office decided to fill the tunnel with engineered grout and completed that work in November 2017. The office evaluated the structural integrity of Tunnel 2, identified a threat of potential collapse, and has determined that filling it with engineered grout is also necessary to stabilize the tunnel.

Tunnel 2 is much bigger than Tunnel 1. It is nearly 1,700 feet long, constructed of steel and concrete, and contains 28 rail cars containing radiologically contaminated plutonium processing equipment. If the permit modification is approved on schedule, the work will begin this summer.

Comments may be submitted via eComments to: http://wt.ecology.commentinput.com/?id=3cRfJ or by mail to: Daina McFadden, Washington State Department of Ecology, 3100 Port of Benton Blvd., Richland, WA 99354.

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