K-East Basin Pumped Dry - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

K-East Basin Pumped Dry

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RICHLAND, Wash.- After more than a decade of work, Hanford's leak prone K-East basin is dry.

Fluor Hanford pumped about 1 million gallons of contaminated water out for treatment.

It took about 220 tanker loads to pump the water from the K-East basin that once held about 1,100 tons of nuclear fuel.

The 20 foot deep pool stored used nuclear fuel from Hanford's reactors.

The Department of Energy emptied fuel, then took out sludge and grouted the basin floor for radiation protection.  

Some thought it may have leaked radioactive water into the ground there near the river, now they say that risk is gone since it's empty.

"Quite a sight to watch the last bit of water drained out of that basin and be sucked out of there with the pumps and into the tanker, you know, that basin's been full of that contaminated water for 50 years, and yesterday was the day that we saw it empty," said Chris Lucas, the K-East Closure Director. 

The next step in the process is to fill the basin with a sand and then take down the surrounding building, then finally take out the pool itself and eventually clean up contaminated dirt underneath.