Hanford Site Environmental Restoration Surveys

The Hanford Site was created as a part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. The Plutonium for the Trinity Test (the world’s first atomic bomb), and for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945  (nicknamed “Fat Man”) was created at the Hanford Site. During the cold war, the Hanford Site continued to produce Plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal until the last production reactor was shut down in 1988. Since then, the site’s mission has been one of clean up and environmental restoration.

RSI has been heavily involved in the surveys required for cleanup work. Each cleanup site is surveyed several times, we are usually the first on site and the last to leave. A common sequence of events for a particular site is:

1. Pre-excavation topography for design
2. Construction staking for contaminated earth removal
3. Post-excavation asbuilt for verification of specs and contractor pay quantities
4. Construction staking for clean backfill & site restoration
5. Post-backfill asbuilt for verification of specs and contractor pay quantities

The contaminated dirt is hauled to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF), an engineered landfill on Hanford’s central plateau. The landfill is specifically designed to contain the contaminants, with multiple layers of liners to protect the ground water & surrounding areas. RSI has also been involved in the construction of ERDF, having completed the construction staking & asbuilts of several of the landfill cells.

ERDF cell under construction. Demolition of the power house at the N Reactor.
ERDF cell under construction. Demolition of the power house at the N Reactor.
Excavator working in the 100K area removing contaminated earth.
Excavator working in the 100K area removing contaminated earth.

Photos courtesy of the Department of Energy.