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N reactor is retired, not dead.

N reactor is retired, not dead

Since January 1987, the plutonium-producing N Reactor in Hanford, Wash., has been shut down for safety modifications (SN: 1/10/87, p.25). The Department of Energy (DOE) ordered those modifications for its 25-year-old reactor -- which shares several majolr design features with the Soviets' crippled Chernobyl reactor -- after independent reviews found that many reactor systems and components were deteriorating to a point where they could jeopardize safety (SN: 8/16/87, p.101). Now DOE has decided to remove the reactor's fuel and take the plant out of service.

DOE expects to meet the demand for new weapons-grade plutonium by relying on three other plants and on weapons recycling. However, should plutonium needs increase, DOE could call N Reactor out of retirement. To allow for that, the plant's scheduled safety modifications will be completed.
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Title Annotation:N Reactor in Hanford, Wash., shut down for safety modifications
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 5, 1988
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