For two decades the plan at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was to send the worst radioactive waste to a storage facility deep inside Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Now the Obama administration appears to be changing that plan. The president’s recently released budget would cut money for most everything at Yucca.
That news has Hanford officials scrambling to come up with a plan B. Richland correspondent Anna King has more.
At Hanford there are 53 million gallons of liquid radioactive waste stewing in aging underground tanks.
There’s a massive plant that’s being built to cook that toxic brew into more stable glass logs. But now the question is where to store all those glass logs in the long-term?
Some of the radioactive gunk in those logs has a half-life of 25,000 years.
Yucca Mountain has cost the government nearly $8 billion so far. But the plan is controversial because many Nevada residents don’t want the nation’s radioactive waste dumped in their state. And neither does Nevada’s powerful Senator Harry Reid. Others question the site’s safety.
With Yucca Mountain off the table for now, Hanford officials say they are thinking about building a large warehouse.
It would hold the glass logs until a suitable national site is found. The $200 million warehouse would hold about 2000 of the 12,000 highly radioactive glass logs that Hanford will produce.