Subcontracts awarded to enclose Hanford’s K East Reactor building

August 12, 2021, 9:07AMRadwaste Solutions
An artist’s rendition of the K East Reactor safe-storage enclosure. (Image: DOE)

DGR Grant Construction will construct a safe-storage enclosure over the K East Reactor building at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Washington state. Two construction subcontracts, worth about $9.5 million, were awarded to the Richland, Wash.–based company by Central Plateau Cleanup Company, the DOE’s Richland Operations Office site cleanup contractor.

The enclosure is intended to protect the reactor building while the radioactivity in the reactor core decays over the next several decades, making it easier and safer to complete disposition of the reactor in the future.

The K East Reactor will be the seventh of Hanford’s nine former plutonium production reactors to be placed in interim safe storage. The reactor is one of Hanford’s “sister” reactors. The K East and K West reactors were built side by side in the early 1950s and went into service in 1955. Located in Hanford’s 100 Area, less than 400 yards from the Columbia River, the reactors operated for more than 15 years before being shut down in 1970 (K West) and 1971 (K East).

Groundbreaking work on the foundation for the storage enclosure is scheduled to begin in September. Construction of the steel structure is slated for early 2022, with completion expected in 2023.

What they’re saying: “Awarding this contract is a major step toward the completion of work in Hanford’s K Reactor Area,” said Bob Krebs, Central Plateau Cleanup Company’s project manager for the safe-storage enclosure. “We look forward to working with the Department of Energy and our cleanup partners to safely execute this critical risk-reduction project.”

Mark French, project and facilities division director with the Richland Operations Office, said, “Work on placing the K East Reactor in interim safe storage progresses our mission to protect the public and the Columbia River.”

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