Team helping assess Hanford black cells - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Team helping assess Hanford black cells

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Hanford, WASH.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has chosen 8 experts to take a closer look at the black cells at the Hanford Site's Waste Treatment Plant.

The 18 black cells are enclosed rooms inside the Vit Plant that will contain such high levels of radioactivity, they must will be sealed off from all workers once operations begin.

That means the facility must be built in a way that it won't require any maintenance, because personnel won't be able to go near it for an estimated 40 years.

The 8 independent technical experts were chosen to review the plant's capability to detect equipment failure and address any potential issues in the black cells that could arise in the next four decades.

"This is in a sense fine tuning. In the event that is somewhat unexpected or something happens that unanticipated, being able to identify that as quickly as possible and take appropriate action," said DOE Senior Advisor for the Environmental Management Office Dave Huizenga.

The chosen team members are all experts from a variety of different fields.

Secretary Chu and the team are scheduled to begin reviewing information about the waste treatment plant this week, and they plan to visit the Hanford Site in the next few months.