K-Basin Draining Begins - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

K-Basin Draining Begins

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RICHLAND, Wash.- Workers have begun draining 1 million gallons of highly-radioactive water from Hanford's leaky K-Basins.

Fluor Hanford says this is the first real physical sign you'll see that they're close to getting in to clean out contaminated dirt underneath that basin just yards from the Columbia River.

Workers are pumping water from the old nuclear fuel storage pool into water tankers, then taking the water to an evaporator on site for treatment.  

The process is expected to take about a month.

"Really a step from the true in an operational state now to a true demolition and deactivation state that we can move forward with," said Robert Wilkinson, Fluor Hanford's Vice President of Decommissioning. 

High-winds on the site forced work to shut down for part of the day Thursday.  

Wilkinson says weather will be the biggest obstacle to getting the basin drained by the end of the month.  

Once it's empty, workers will begin tearing down the surrounding building.