"Hanford Nuclear Waste 'Vit Plant' Has Safety Board Worried"
The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is worried about the safety of pipes and equipment which will entomb in glass decades worth of nuclear waste from the cold-war Hanford weapons facility.
"RICHLAND, Wash. -- Bechtel National, Inc. is designing and building the world's largest radioactive waste treatment plant for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Hanford Site near the Columbia River in southeastern Washington state.
The $12.2 billion Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the 'Vit Plant,' will immobilize the highly radioactive liquid waste now stored in 177 underground tanks by turning it into large glass logs using a process called vitrification.
Construction of the Vit Plant began in 2001 and is more than 60 percent complete.
But now the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, DNFSB, has rung an alarm bell about the ability of the plant's stainless steel piping, process vessels, and pulse jet mixers to withstand the erosion and corrosion of the radioactive waste during the 40-year life of the facility. "
Environment News Service had the story February 7, 2012.