Dept. of Energy seeks risky remains at one of Hanford nuclear reservation's most hazardous sites

Work has begun with federal economic stimulus money to solve the mystery of what's buried in one the most hazardous burial grounds of the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The 618-10 Burial Ground "received some nasty stuff from the labs in the 300 Area where they did everything done at Hanford but at a small scale," said Larry Gadbois, scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, a regulator on the project.

The six-acre burial ground includes 94 pipes buried vertically that allowed trucks to drive up and quickly drop radioactive and chemical waste underground. Most were made by removing the tops and bottoms of 55-gallon drums and then welding five of them together to form pipes. The 618-10 Burial Ground also includes 23 trenches.

Many records of what they contain were destroyed in the early 1990s.

Now Washington Closure Hanford and the Department of Energy are trying to determine what they hold using the remaining records and by testing, starting with a method that doesn't require opening or cutting into the vertical pipe units.

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