Plutonium Finishing Plant

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The Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP), also known as 'Z Plant', was part of the Hanford Site nuclear research complex in Washington, US.[1][2][3][4][5]


It began in 1949 with the purpose of helping Hanford make plutonium metal in a form suitable for weapons on-site.[1][2] It also participated in programs to recycle plutonium. One of the projects in this program was the use of mixed plutonium-oxide uranium-oxide (MOX) fuel in the Fast Flux Test Facility. One of the PFP's jobs was to quality assure the fuel pins that had been constructed for the FFTF by outside vendors, such as Kerr-McGee, NUMEC, and Babcock and Wilcox[1][5]

The PFP Closure Project intends to have the entire facility cleaned and destroyed down to a concrete slab by 2016, with all contaminated materials moved to other sites.[1]


  • Created plutonium 'buttons', used to make weapons, until 1989[1][2]
  • Special nuclear material handling and storage
  • Plutonium recovery
  • Plutonium conversion
  • Laboratory support
  • Waste handling
  • Shutdown and operational facility surveillances.[2]


Plutonium Conversion Facility

  • 'Remote Mechanical A' line - created plutonium oxide powder
  • 'Remote Mechanical C' line - created metallic plutonium from plutonium nitrate[2]

Plutonium Reclamation Facility

  • Produced 'high purity plutonium nitrate solution' from a 'variety of feed sources, including scrap'.[2] Started in 1964 [4]

Waste Treatment Facility

  • Neutralized liquid nuclear waste before it was pumped to Hanford's Tank Farms[2]


  • Burned old clothes, filters, etc. to recover plutonium residue [3]


  • Ventilation systems, nuclear storage vaults, chemical storage, office space, backup generator, etc.[2]
  • RECUPLEX process, Plutonium recovery and recycle. Contaminated the ground with plutonium, carbon tetrachloride, and acidic waste[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Plutonium Finishing Plant" (PDF). Hanford / US Govt. Retrieved 2009-01-20.  "From 1949 to 1989, U.S. Department of Energy contractors operated the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) to process plutonium nitrate solutions into a solid form (hockey puck-sized “buttons” or oxide powder) for shipment to the nation’s weapons production facilities."
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Final Environmental Impact Statement - Plutonium Finishing Plant Stabilization, May 1996 EIS-0244F". US DOE. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ a b Cary, Annette (2006-06-27). "Nuclear Incinerator Torn Down at Plutonium Finishing Plant". Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ a b c Gerber, M.S. (Feb 2001). "History of Hanford Site Defense Production (Brief)" (PDF). Fluor Hanford / US DOE. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  5. ^ a b Lini, D.C. and L. H. Rodgers. "Plutonium Finishing Plant" (PDF). Hanford / US Govt. Retrieved 2009-01-20.