The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected Washington Closure Hanford (WCH) to manage the River Corridor Cleanup Project (RCCP) at the 586-square-mile Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. Washington Closure is a limited liability company led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National and CH2M HILL.
WCH has the single purpose of safely cleaning up and closing the Hanford river corridor. The Columbia River corridor comprises 218 square miles along the edge of the Hanford Site, including major portions of the Hanford Reach National Monument. The scope of work for the River Corridor Cleanup Project team is to safely demolish 329 buildings, clean up 555 waste sites and burial grounds, place two deactivated plutonium production reactors and one nuclear facility into interim safe storage, and dispose of more than four million tons of contaminated material in the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, which WCH operates.
In June 2012, N-Reactor, the last of nine plutonium production reactors to be shut down at DOE’s Hanford Site, was placed in interim safe storage. N Reactor was unique in that it served a dual purpose; it produced plutonium for America’s defense program and steam for electricity. At its peak, the 860-megawatt reactor generated enough electricity for about 650,000 homes. N Reactor was also Hanford’s only reactor that re-circulated water for cooling before returning it to the Columbia River. The closed-loop system contributed less overall contamination to the river.