27 May 2010


Hey! We've got a list of 5 easy ways to get involved in Hanford Cleanup over on our website that you should check out!

And Portlanders, we hope to see you at the PROTECT PORTLAND FROM HANFORD concert tomorrow night, featuring Dana Lyons! The concert's at 7pm at the First Unitarian Church on SW 12th & Salmon; suggested donation is $10; all proceeds benefit Heart of America Northwest and Alliance for Democracy, Portland Chapter.

26 May 2010

Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission to see Hanford first-hand

The Blue Ribbon Commission on nuclear waste announced this morning that it plans to visit Hanford July 14 and 15.

The commission was formed at President Barack Obama’s order to recommend what the nation should do with spent commercial nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste from weapons production, including Hanford’s high level waste.

The waste was expected to go to the planned repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., but Obama has opposed opening the repository and the commission has been instructed not to consider Yucca Mountain.

The panel stressed this morning that it is not a siting commission and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., echoed that.

“This will not be an audition for making Hanford a permanent repository for nuclear waste,” she said in a statement.

The panel wants to visit Hanford to meet with a diverse group of people who have long dealt with radioactive waste issues technically, socially and politically, said a commission spokesman.

“While the commission will not be looking at specific repository sites, I am disappointed the Obama administration has dismissed out of hand any discussion of Yucca Mountain and I have made clear I will fight any attempt to make Hanford the site for a permanent repository,” she said.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., called the planned visit “a political endeavor.”

“The Blue Ribbon Commission was formed so that President Obama could terminate Yucca Mountain without having to answer the question of what next,” he said in a statement.

Even though the commission has said it is not a site selection committee, Yucca Mountain has been arbitrarily taken off the table, he said.

“Consequently we are left to assume that everything else is on the table,” he said."

17 May 2010

Your chance to learn about the changes and delays to the Hanford Cleanup Agreement


What's the deal with the Energy Department scheduling to remove waste from Hanford 5 years after the repository it's destined for in New Mexico has started shutting down?

Heart of America Northwest is hosting a webinar to bring you up to speed on this & other issues with the proposed changes and delays to the Hanford Cleanup Agreement.

Please call in to prepare for the upcoming workshops in Seattle & Portland (mid-June); if you don't live in one of these areas, this webinar is your only chance to learn about these issues.

Tuesday, May 25th, 7pm (PDT)
Dial Toll-Free 1.877.216.1555, passcode: 1040811

download the slides in advance: email Lisa@hoanw.org or check www.hoanw.org

14 May 2010

A busy week for Heart of America Northwest

Another busy week at the Heart of America Northwest offices comes to a close.  Here's what we've been up to:
  • We put the final touches on our comments to the Tank Closure and Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement - check it out!  They cover everything from climate change to transportation risks;
  • We're planning a fun benefit concert in Portland on May 28th with internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Dana Lyons!  The show starts at 7pm at the First Unitarian Church, and we'd love to see you there;
  • We hung out with Bob Alvarez last night, heard some of his interesting stories and talked about Transuranic Waste - what a good time!

05 May 2010

Comment on Changes & Delays to the Hanford Cleanup Agreement

Here's Heart of America Northwest's Fact Sheet on the issues (follow link to download pdf).  The comment period runs May 3 - June 17th!  Email your comments today to TPACH@rl.gov.

04 May 2010

Portland's Mayor Adams' Comments on the Hanford EIS

Office of Mayor Sam Adams
City of Portland
Mary Beth Burandt
DOE Draft TC&WM EIS Comments
May 3, 2010

Dear Ms. Burandt,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Hanford Tank Farm Closure and Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Hanford is the world’s largest and most complex environmental cleanup project, so I appreciate the complexity of the task ahead of the USDOE in proposing actions to clean up this facility.

It has come to my attention that a number of the recommended alternatives in this draft EIS pose serious threats to regional human and environmental health. While the City of Portland is not qualified to comment on the selection of one particular alternative over another in the draft EIS, we ultimately support the alternative that is most protective over the long term of the Columbia River. Portland sits at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the health of which are vital to the success of this city. I am troubled that the USDOE’s preferred alternatives do not reflect this perspective.

In addition to the downstream impacts of the quality of on-site mitigation and clean-up activity at Hanford, I am significantly dismayed by Section 2.3, Waste Management Alternatives of the EIS and the USDOE’s preferred Waste Management Alternative of Alternative 2, which allows the retrieval of off-site waste for storage at Hanford.

Receipt of off-site waste at Hanford, especially if it contains (as would be expected) mobile long-lived radioactive materials, such as technetium 99 or iodine 129, is projected to have significant adverse long-term impacts on the groundwater, which ultimately impacts the Columbia River. Moreover, the transfer of nuclear waste through Oregon on its way to Hanford poses an unacceptable risk to the health of Portland citizens.

Assuming no accidents, the USDOE itself estimated 816 cancer deaths to residents along the route, and to people in traffic near the trucks, from a similar proposal in 2008. That estimate is based on radiation doses for an adult male and does not account for the possibility of traffic accidents, leakages, or acts of terror along the transfer route.

The City of Portland adamantly opposes the USDOE’s selection of Alternative 2 of the Waste Management Alternatives as the preferred alternative in this EIS. Given that there are alreadymany barriers to quickly and adequately cleaning up the existing nuclear waste at Hanford, it is plainly unacceptable to consider importing additional nuclear waste, even temporarily, from outside of the Hanford site. Furthermore, the actual transportation of that waste by river, rail, or road through Portland would be an unacceptable risk to the City.

We recognize that the treatment of nuclear waste is a regional and national issue that requires the collaboration of all levels of government to develop practical and safe solutions. In objecting to the transport of nuclear waste through this region, I offer this city’s support in developing a plan ror the on-site treatment of nuclear waste to either mitigate the health risks of the waste in transport or to eliminate the need for transport altogether. Treating nuclear waste on-site is the best opportunity for our communities to avoid further health and environmental impacts from waste produced from regional, decommissioned nuclear facilities.

The City of Portland, in solidarity with the City of Spokane, Washington, urges the USDOE to follow through on the agency’s fourth strategic theme: Environmental Responsibility:
Protecting the environment by providing a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production.

The Portland City Council opposes the transportation of massive amounts of nuclear waste through our region and supports the alternatives in the Hanford Tank Farm Closure and Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement which are most protective of the long-term health of the Columbia River.

Sam Adams, Mayor
City of Portland