The Hanford Site Tank Farms contain waste created during Hanford’s plutonium production era. The waste was generated when irradiated uranium fuel rods were chemically treated to dissolve away the rod itself, allowing workers to retrieve plutonium from them. After the chemicals needed for plutonium processing had been used, they were put into underground storage tanks that were constructed throughout Hanford’s 200 Area in a series of groups called farms.
As part of an agreement regulating Hanford cleanup, crews must remove at least 99% of the waste in every tank on the Site, or at least as much waste as can be removed based on available technology. The final for the tank farm waste is treatment at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.