K-East Basin Sludge Cleanup Nearly Complete - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

K-East Basin Sludge Cleanup Nearly Complete

RICHLAND, Wash.- Sludge cleanup in Hanford's K-East Basin is nearly complete after workers finish vacuuming the majority of sludge from the basin floor.

About 55 cubic yards of radioactive sludge were vacuumed out using a remote control, video led vacuum.

This means the Department of Energy will meet an October 31 deadline for containerization of the sludge.

The bulk of it is now off the basin floor, stored in large underwater containers before they send it to the K-West Basin.

Fluor said it was a difficult process, but now they're happy to be done.

"That has been a very difficult and challenging project for us. In terms of the conditions of the sludge changed from being flighty to like hard packed sand," said Geoff Tyree with Fluor Hanford.

"There was much more debris than we anticipated in the basin that we had to take out."

Vacuuming began about two years ago after all the spent nuclear fuel was removed from the basin.

Spent fuel from the K-East Reactor was stored in the underground pools for decades.

The basin should be totally cleaned out by June to meet the Tri-Party Agreement.