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Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility

The Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility is adjacent to the B Plant processing facility in the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site.

The U.S. Department of Energy is preparing to remove some of Hanford’s most hazardous legacy waste to reduce any potential effects on people and the environment.

The Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF) provides safe and compliant underwater storage for 1,936 highly radioactive capsules containing cesium and strontium.

In the 1970s, cesium and strontium were removed from waste tanks at Hanford to reduce the temperature of the waste inside the tanks. Both elements were ultimately placed in sturdy, stainless steel containers at WESF for safe storage and monitoring.

For more information, please see the WESF Fact Sheet.

The water around the cesium and strontium capsules in the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility pools glows a color of blue. The effect is known as the Cherenkov Glow, as the radioactive cesium and strontium decay and lose their radioactivity to become stable atoms. The water around the cesium and strontium capsules in the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility pools glows a color of blue. The effect is known as the Cherenkov Glow, as the radioactive cesium and strontium decay and lose their radioactivity to become stable atoms. 

 

Workers recently decontaminated and painted a hot cell adjacent to the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility pool cells where the capsules will be transported to a safer storage configuration.Workers recently decontaminated and painted a hot cell adjacent to the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility pool cells where the capsules will be transported to a safer storage configuration.

 

Conceptual illustrations of a large concrete cask (top) that was designed to hold capsules. Between 16 and 20 casks will be placed in a safe, compliant configuration in an outdoor storage area (bottom), similar to how spent commercial nuclear fuel is currently stored.

Conceptual illustrations of a large concrete cask (top) that was designed to hold capsules. Between 16 and 20 casks will be placed in a safe, compliant configuration in an outdoor storage area (bottom), similar to how spent commercial nuclear fuel is currently stored.Conceptual illustrations of a large concrete cask (top) that was designed to hold capsules. Between 16 and 20 casks will be placed in a safe, compliant configuration in an outdoor storage area (bottom), similar to how spent commercial nuclear fuel is currently stored.

Last Updated 04/26/2022 10:36 AM