August 25, 2008.  The Department of the Interior along with the Department of Energy has announced that the Hanford B Reactor has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

A pdf download details the history of area 100-B.  In this document there is a figure that shows how new fuel elements were pushed in one side and how the spent elements came out the other side into a water basin with the aid of the local (and free) gravitational field.

This seems very clever. I fear that a modern solution would involve 10 years of studies and would result in a half billion dollar high tech solution. Contractors would lock on to the DOE tit and hang there for decades with service contracts and spec’d in consumables.

 Hanford Refueling Process

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