A shipment of nuclear waste approaches the processing center in Carlsbad, NM.
Workers completed the last phase of nuclear waste cleanup at the Nuclear Radiation Development site near Grand Island, New York, and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.
Last summer a total of four truckloads – three from Nuclear Radiation Development, one from Berkeley –of soil, sludge, tools, rags, and protective clothing contaminated with radioactive elements was driven to a Department of Energy (DOE) disposal site outside Carlsbad, New Mexico. Encased in steel drums, the waste was then placed in storage facilities more than 2,000 feet below ground. Costs were covered by $172 million in Recovery funding.
Campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at Berkeley, CA.
About the same time, DOE and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions supervised the sealing of two decommissioned reactors at the historic Savannah River Site in South Carolina. During the 1950s, the site played a leading role in nuclear weapons manufacturing that produced tritium and plutonium-239. The sealed reactors were the two oldest of five decommissioned reactors on the site. The remaining three will be sealed at a later date.
Savannah River Site employee carrying time capsule to place inside P Reactor before sealing.
Before the doors of one reactor were welded shut, officials placed inside a time capsule containing items depicting the history of the site and showing current events in the region and the nation. Items ranged from documents recording the decommissioning process for the reactors to a copy of People magazine featuring the royal wedding in Britain.
The two reactors are expected to stay in their present states for 1,400 years.
Workers weld shut the remaining opening of the P Reactor.
Since the 1990s, the Department of Energy has been working to treat and remove contamination on the 310-square-mile Savannah River Site. Recovery funds totaling $1.6 billion are allowing DOE to accelerate the Savannah River Site efforts.
More on DOE’s Recovery funded cleanup activities
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