12 October 2009

Officials explain proposed Hanford settlement

This article in the Tri-City Herald provides an overview of the proposed settlement agreement on Hanford Clean-up. For more information, see Heart of America's factsheet and tips for commenting.

The article quotes Ken Niles, of the Oregon Department of Energy, saying that Oregon is not thrilled with Hanford Clean-Up Agreement schedule and consent decree but is not seeing how to do better.

We at Heart of America Northwest are not thrilled with the settlement either. We are consistently advocating for USDOE to empty the waste from the single shell tanks (SSTs) more quickly -- and there is solid research proving that it is possible to do so faster than the schedules propose. In addition, the settlement must be changed to have an enforceable ban on USDOE from using Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump -- a ban that includes all waste types. Finally, we are concerned that there is no commitment to build new tanks even if USDOE fails to open the vitrification plant or empty SSTs on time.

The public comment period on the proposed settlement is running NOW through December 11th! Attend a public meeting near you or take the time today to email your comments to TPACH@rl.gov. We need to work together to protect the Columbia River and public health for future generations.


  1. I agree, the issue of prioritizing certain tasks of the cleanup should be more so stressed. We all realize that the task at hand is enormous. If deadline extensions are continually enacted, the least we could do is properly 'stall' or 'patch' our current issues with the single shelled tanks to prevent the surrounding environment from being more so contaminated.

    However, one potential benefit to delaying the overall site cleanup(not referring to the SST problem) could allow advancements in nuclear waste treatment/recycling to surface in the interim.

  2. We'll have to see what advances they come up with...so far we haven't been impressed. The Waste Treatment/Vitrification Plant, for example, has been in the works for years and is already over $8 billion over budget. They started building the plant before the design/engineering was even complete -- which has already turned out to be a disaster once!