Lack of skilled workers hampers cleanup

Sep 05, 2006

A declining nuclear workforce is complicating efforts to deal with radioactive waste threatening Washington State's Columbia River.

The massive project to clean up a Cold War-era nuclear weapons plant has met with one setback after another since it started more than a decade ago, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Academic experts agree the U.S. is losing its expertise in nuclear engineering, which is one of the reasons there have been so many problems with the project.

Known as the Hanford site, it is the most polluted in North America and a top clean-up priority of the U.S. Energy Department.

Unfortunately efforts to build a sophisticated waste treatment complex to transform the radioactive sludge have foundered because of engineering mistakes and runaway costs.

Lead contractor Bechtel Corp, the third firm brought in to do the job, says it underestimated how much U.S. expertise in nuclear engineering has atrophied and how difficult it is to find people with the required skills.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Cities, regions, demand bigger climate say

Related Stories

UW researchers scaling up fusion hopes

Jun 02, 2015

Producing reliable fusion energy—the same process that powers the sun—has long been a holy grail of scientists here on Earth. It releases no greenhouse gases, can be fueled by elements found in seawater ...

Soft robot to swim through Europa's oceans

May 13, 2015

An amphibious robot that can swim through the oceans of distant moons and planets could be the next iteration of self-sustaining, robotic space exploration.

Bury nuclear waste down a very deep hole, say UK scientists

Apr 14, 2015

Scientists at the University of Sheffield calculate that all of the UK's high level nuclear waste from spent fuel reprocessing could be disposed of in just six boreholes 5km deep, fitting within a site no larger than a football ...

Radiocarbon dating reveals past fall in sea level

Apr 07, 2015

When carbonate samples from One Tree Reef in southern Great Barrier Reef arrived at ANSTO for radiocarbon dating, Principle Research Scientist Quan Hua was confident they could accurately determine the age ...

Recommended for you

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

4 hours ago

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

Should we all escape to the country during a heatwave?

8 hours ago

A University of Birmingham research project has highlighted the potential health impacts of heatwaves in urbanised areas. By modelling the 2003 heatwave the researchers were able to identify areas where city centres were ...

NASA maps beach tar from California oil pipeline spill

9 hours ago

When an on-land pipeline ruptured north of Santa Barbara, California, on May 19—spilling 105,000 barrels of crude oil onto Refugio State Beach and about 21,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean in the ...

Not all plastics equal

10 hours ago

Ever buy a fish at a pet store that died within days of being put in an aquarium at home?

Carbon capture and storage safety investigated

10 hours ago

A significant step has been made for potential Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) deployment, with the publication of the results from the world's first experiment into the realistic simulation of potential ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.