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Demolishing Decay at the Hanford Site

February 22, 2011 - 5:44pm


The stacks and support structures of the 284 West Power House at the Hanford Site were taken down February 18, 2011.

Taken out of context, the footage above might seem like a mere moment of controlled destruction, but in reality the demolition process documented in this video represents important progress in the cleanup of the environmental legacy of one of America's most famous scientific undertakings -- the Manhattan Project.

The 284 West Power House, which was brought down last week, has been a fixture of the Hanford Site in Washington for nearly 70 years. It was constructed in 1943 to provide the steam necessary for chemical reactions that aide in the processing of plutonium, along with heating nearby facilities. It ceased operations in 1992, and has sat unused for the better part of two decades.

Why is its demolition noteworthy? Well, besides providing the rather epic videofootage above, it actually saves taxpayer money. Even a vacant structure has to be maintained and secured to avoid potential safety hazards that could occur if the structure were to falter. The team at Hanford is also on track to bring down a similar set of structures elsewhere on the site in early March. Both endeavors were made possible thanks to funding from the Recovery Act.

Additional photos from the demolition can be found on Hanford Site’s webpage.