Decommissioning and Dismantling of the 100-F Reactor

EMD-79-20: Published: Jan 17, 1979. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 1979.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) is presently considering methods of dismantling and disposing of their Hanover Power Station in Richland, Washington. GAO has reviewed the disposition plans for dealing with the highly contaminated nuclear sites. The project involves the decontamination and dismantling of the shutdown reactor and its related facilities. The site will eventually be returned to public use.

The Energy Research and Development Administration studied the dismantling problem but lacked the complete data to undertake the project. The final disposition of the radioactive material from the site has yet to be decided. The questions of how much radioactivity may be left in the area before the land reverts to public use and whether that particular site is needed for public use remain unanswered. A laboratory study described several negative environmental conditions which could result from dismantling the Hanover plant. Transporting large volumes of contaminated material could result in exposure to the site employees and might release harmful radionuclides into the environment. The study recommended that the operation be postponed for 75 years when the radioactive effects will be minimal. Decontamination and decommissioning of the Hanover site does not seem justified at this time.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The project should be postponed until studies are completed as to whether the Hanover site becomes a permanent repository for nuclear materials. Criteria still need to be developed for the cleanup and return of nuclear sites to unrestricted use along with assessing the possible environmental impact such action may have on the area.

    Agency Affected:


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