Recently, workers at T Plant repackaged radioactive wastes generated on the Hanford Site.
To prepare for receipt and storage of sludge containers, crews cleaned out the T Plant canyon (left), modified the cells beneath to accept the containers, and performed extensive testing and training (right).
The U.S. Department of Energy and contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company manage the oldest nuclear facility in the United States that is still operating with a current mission.
When construction was complete on T Plant in 1944, it was the world’s first large-scale plutonium separation facility. A series of chemical processes at T Plant extracted plutonium from fuel rods irradiated at the B Reactor. The plutonium processed at T Plant was used for the Trinity Test in New Mexico in July 1945, and was used in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945. T Plant ceased plutonium separation in 1956 and the next year resumed service as a decontamination, repair, and waste handling facility.
Today, T Plant is providing safe and compliant temporary storage for highly radioactive sludge received from the 105 K West Reactor fuel storage basin, near the Columbia River. Removing that sludge from the basin and placing it into specially designed containers for storage approximately 12 miles away at T Plant significantly reduces risk to the Columbia River.
Prior to its current mission of sludge storage, T Plant was used to treat, verify, and sample gases inside waste drums, and repackage waste generated at the Hanford Site to ensure waste packages complied with state and federal transportation, storage, and disposal regulations.
T Plant is located in the 200 West Area of the Hanford Site.