Tag Archives | nuclear waste
Nothing to see here, no serious problems, say Bechtel spokespersons…
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An investigation by the U.S. Energy Department has found that San Francisco engineering firm Bechtel may have committed a wide range of safety and health violations at a plant it is building to treat high-level radioactive waste at Hanford, Wash., according to agency documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
The Energy Department halted construction at the plant earlier this year in the wake of allegations that the treatment complex had fundamental design and construction flaws.
The Hanford plant is being built to treat an estimated 56 million gallons of radioactive waste created from about half a century of nuclear weapons production. The waste is stored in underground tanks. At least some of those tanks are leaking radioactive sludge, posing a threat to the nearby Columbia River and making the $12.3-billion treatment plant one of the most urgent environmental projects in the nation.
The Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles examines what they term “perpetual architecture” — several dozen cell structures scattered across the desert of the U.S. southwest holding radioactive hazards. These edifices are designed to exist forever — thousands of years from now, in a vastly different world, these may be the only remnant of our civilization. Below is the Green River Disposal Cell in Utah:
More than 30 of these disposal cells have been constructed over the last 25 years, primarily to contain radioactive contamination from decommissioned uranium mills and processing sites. They are time capsules, of sorts, designed to take their toxic contents, undisturbed, as far into the future as possible.
Pasta&Vinegar on a fascinating 10,000-year design conundrum: how to house our radioactive waste in such a way that the next 400 generations will understand the danger, and not try to tamper or remove the markers. One would assume that over that period, most of our civilization, language, symbols, and physical structures as we know them will cease to exist:
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“Permanent Markers Implementation Plan” is a project initiated in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Energy in order to provide a permanent record which identifies the location of nuclear waste repository and its dangers.
This report described the task handled by one of the expert group made of an anthropologist, an astronomer, an archaeologist, an environmental designer, a linguist, and a materials scientist. The brief for them was basic:
“The site must be marked. Aside from the legal requirement, the site will be indelibly imprinted by the human activity associated with waste disposal.