A New Analysis Triples U.S. Plutonium Waste Figures – NYTimes.com

Posted by Trish Riley, July 11, 2010

“WASHINGTON — The amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously reported, a new analysis indicates, suggesting that a cleanup to protect future generations will be far more challenging than planners had assumed.

Plutonium waste is much more prevalent around nuclear weapons sites nationwide than the Energy Department’s official accounting indicates, said Robert Alvarez, a former department official who in recent months reanalyzed studies conducted by the department in the last 15 years for Hanford…”

[And this is why Yucca Mountain has been rejected by the Obama Administration as a repository for radioactive waste]:

“…The fear is that in a few hundred years, the plutonium could reach an underground area called the saturated zone, where water flows, and from there enter the Columbia River. Because the area is now arid, contaminants move extremely slowly, but over the millennia the climate is expected to change, experts say.”

via A New Analysis Triples U.S. Plutonium Waste Figures – NYTimes.com.