Deadline Beat for 300 Area Cleanup - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Deadline Beat for 300 Area Cleanup

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RICHLAND, Wash.- Washington Closure Hanford beats a cleanup deadline on a site just yards from the Columbia River.

It's part of cleanup in a burial ground at the 300-Area.  

Anything they needed to throw away went in the burial grounds, even some plutonium that was just tossed in.

It doesn't look like much right now cause it's been filled with more than 15 feet of dirt, but it's so clean you could build a house on it.

During cleanup though, it wasn't that way, they didn't know what was buried in there, and that makes beating the tri-party deadline even more impressive.

"You're out digging up things where the records are scarce, if not non-existent totally, and so we're out digging and have to be very careful as we go through the burial grounds and the sites we're digging up," said Washington Closure Hanford President Chuck Spencer.

One of the things they found in there was a safe with plutonium from the site's earliest days.

Things like that slowed cleanup down, but now that it's gone, it can't seep into the groundwater and get closer to the river.