05 January 2010

Hanford gets an "A" on year-end report card?

NW Public Radio and KUOW ran the following story on the year-end grade that Hanford officials gave themselves - an "A", believe it or not!  However, the reporter simply took the contractors' year end email and used it for what was supposed to be a news story with the addition of Skinnarland's quote for Ecology.

Imagine giving an A:
  • to a polluter that the state had to sue due to violations of a consent decree timeline; 
  • for 22 years of delay in emptying Single Shell Tanks; 
  • proposing to never investigate or cleanup tank leaks and 40 miles of unlined trenches; 
  • and, formally proposing to use Hanford as a national waste dump.
Heart of America Northwest encourages you to email the KUOW news director, Anna King (the reporter) and WA Department of Ecology's director Ted Sturdevant using the points outlined above and asking for more insightful reporting to the public.

Following is the text of the short blurb Anna King ran on KUOW on December 30th:

It's been a big year at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Cleanup there was one of the biggest items in the federal stimulus package. And the largest federally funded construction project right now — Hanford's Vitrification plant — reached the halfway point. But are we closer to cleaning one of America's dirtiest places?

If Hanford were a student, Washington State Ecology's Ron Skinnarland says he'd give the site an "A" on its end of the year progress report. Here's Hanford's list of got–it–done in 2009: A newly negotiated Tri–Party Agreement that sets deadlines for cleanup. A massive factory to treat nuclear waste is 50 percent complete. And 51 buildings were taken down. Ecology's Skinnarland says without the stimulus funding many projects would have been put off.

Ron Skinnarland: "We have a lot of decisions that Ecology and the EPA, the regulatory agencies, have to make to make sure that we can spend all this money efficiently and do the right thing. So we still have a lot of work ahead of us. But we are glad we have the opportunity."

DOE officials say in 2010 they will continue to shrink the contaminated footprint of the nuclear site. Also, they want to focus on improving worker safety in one of the most complicated and dangerous worksites in the world.

I'm Anna King in Richland.


  1. An "A"?? That's outrageous! Especially with the mess that is the Tank Closure & Waste Management EIS coming up...

  2. What are they basing their grading off of? Potential for action? It doesn't seem like Hanford really got anything done other than put together PLANS for clean-up. Did they actually begin cleaning? And how long until these "plans" go into affect? How long do we need to continue waiting for our state to be cleaned of nuclear waste?