Trojan's nuclear waste on-site, protected

Credit: Sallinger

Trojan's nuclear waste on-site, protected

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by Wayne Havrelly

Bio | Email | Follow: @HavrellyKGW

kgw.com

Posted on March 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 18 at 12:16 PM

RAINIER -- Every bit of uranium that powered the Trojan nuclear power plant for 16 years is still there, just outside the town of Rainier.

However, the spent fuel rods are no longer sitting in water and boric acid filled pools like waste at the troubled nuclear plant in Japan.

In 2003, the used fuel rods were transferred from a cooling pool where they rested for a decade after the plant shut down in 1992.

The waste is now stored inside 34 stainless steel containers, each surrounded by 150 ton casks made of concrete. 

Portland General Electric officials said the storage site is engineered to withstand a 9.0 earthquake, even a Tsunami or dam break along the Columbia river.

"Even if the site was covered by water, it's a passive cooling system, which means it doesn't require any power source and the reality is that water could cool it just as well as air does," said PGE spokesperson Steve Corson.

The storage containers rest 45 feet above sea level and are surrounded by security 24 hours a day.  They were designed to eventually be transported to a nuclear waste depository.

However, the federal government still doesn't have one, so the concrete cylinders containing radioactive waste will likely remain in Oregon for many decades.

 

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