Two of Hanford’s most challenging remediation projects will be the 618-10 and 618-11 burial grounds. The burial grounds contain wastes that were generated by activities in the 300 Area of the Hanford Site which is just north of the city of Richland. The 300 Area was used for developing and manufacturing reactor fuel and conducting laboratory research during Hanford’s plutonium production mission. Some of the most hazardous wastes on the Hanford Site were disposed of in the 618-10 and 618-11 burial grounds.
As is the case with other burial grounds at Hanford, long before one shovelful of dirt can be removed from the ground, workers must spend time doing research into what was put into the burial ground in the first place. The research is intended to give crews an idea of what kinds of waste they will encounter during cleanup. With wastes as potentially hazardous as the materials in 618-10 and 618-11, crews simply must be prepared to find the unexpected and deal with it safely and appropriately.
Work has already started in the 618-10 Burial Ground which is found about four miles northwest of the 300 Area and only a few hundred yards from Hanford’s main highway. Intrusive and non-intrusive characterization has been completed and remediation of the burial ground began in the spring of 2011.
The 618-11 Burial Ground is located about seven miles from the 300 Area and adjacent to the Columbia Generating Station, the commercial nuclear power plant located on the Hanford Site. Characterization of that burial ground began in the spring of 2011.