Radioactive scraps found in Hanford basin sludge

RICHLAND — Hanford cleanup workers found three broken pieces of uranium fuel rods in the sludge of storage basin.

The highly radioactive scraps are about an inch in size. They were spotted by an underwater camera in the K West Basin. The basin held nuclear weapon ingredients that were unprocessed at the end of the Cold War.

The Tri-City Herald reported that the last of the fuel was removed last May. Workers were recently measuring the sludge when they spotted the broken scraps. They’ve been placed in a canister in the basin where any more scraps will be stored as the sludge is removed.

The Energy Department project director for K Basins Closure, Tom Teynor, said care is being taken to protect cleanup workers from exposure to the high-dose fuel.

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