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DOE Plans Pretreatment of Hanford Waste

The department wants to remove a radioactive element from waste held in Hanford's underground tanks to allow for low activity waste to be treated.

In this May 9, 2017 file photo, signs are posted by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County, in Richland, Wash. The U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 that workers at Hanford have started injecting grout into a partially collapsed tunnel that contains radioactive wastes left over from the production of nuclear weapons.
In this May 9, 2017 file photo, signs are posted by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County, in Richland, Wash. The U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 that workers at Hanford have started injecting grout into a partially collapsed tunnel that contains radioactive wastes left over from the production of nuclear weapons.
AP Photo/Manuel Valdes, File

KENNEWICK, WASH. (AP) β€” The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed a process to remove a radioactive element from waste held in Hanford's underground tanks to allow for low activity waste to be treated.

The Tri-City Herald reports the department is holding a public meeting Wednesday in Richland as it applies to change its dangerous waste permit issued by Washington state. 

The department wants to begin separating the 56 million gallons (212 million liters) of radioactive waste into low activity and high level before the pretreatment facility comes online. 

The low activity waste can be treated at the site's vitrification plant, but high level waste requires separate treatment. 

The department plans to use a tank-side system that removes cesium and solid materials from the tank waste.

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