14 July 2010

Gerry Pollet to Testify for Blue Ribbon Commission Today!

We are excited to see the testimonial of our own executive director, Gerry Pollet, who has been a passionate and indefatigable leader in Hanford cleanup, before President Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission today at 4:20 PST.

President Obama has sought to close Yucca Mountain, the Nevada repository constructed for importing waste from Hanford and other nuclear waste sites. Today, his team visits Hanford, WA, to examine the nuclear waste area and consider the opinions of Hanford experts in their decision.

The commission is interested in exploring alternatives to the Yucca Mountain repository.

Mr. Pollet will present to the commission several key concerns over Hanford's capacity, waste disposal, and detriments of reprocessing this afternoon.

He will explain that the vitrification plant, which would combine waste and glass to form a more easily stored solid, would produce more than could be stored at Yucca Mountain even if it were to open according to schedule. As such, Hanford needs long-term, on-site storage for vitrified products.

Mr. Pollet will explain that this will be needed regardless of Yucca Mountain's status, due to the large quantities of vitrified waste which Hanford would not be able to currently accomodate without increased health and environmental detriment.

Mr. Pollet will also address the concerns over the vitrification plant's capacity. Slated to open in 2019, the plant is currently $8 billion over budget. The capacity will handle only 50% of the 54 million gallons of High-Level Nuclear Waste.
The Department of Energy recommends vitrifying Low Activity Waste as well; this will create releases that will exceed health and water standards of the Columbia River.

Mr. Pollet will emphasize that the capacity of Hanford land to withhold nuclear waste has already been overwhelmed, and contains pre-1970 waste with no plan for removal. He will point out the counterproductive practice of the USDOE's self-regulation, which prevents accurate and effective decisionmaking in regards to waste disposal.

Finally, he will discuss how reprocessing in fact creates enormous quantities of nuclear waste. It created the  54 million gallons of High-Level Nuclear Waste currently sitting in Hanford tanks, with no plan of action for disposal, and will only create more hazardous material if it is chosen as a plan of action.

Check out Gerry's speech this afternoon at 4:20 p.m. P.S.T.! His presentation hopefully will influence the decision of the presidential blue ribbon commission and help Hanford get the "Clean Up First" treatment that we support.

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