The first major facility at the massive Hanford vitrification plant has been started up — a key milestone toward beginning to treat radioactive waste at the plant. Startup of the Analytical Laboratory, one of the four major facilities handling nuclear waste at the vit plant, also is a contract milestone for the contractor for the vit plant, Bechtel National. It will receive $6.6 million in incentive pay for completing startup by a deadline set by the Department of Energy.
Tri-city Herald 30th June 2020 read more »
A policy shift buried within the federal government’s massive military spending bill could have ruinous consequences for radioactive cleanup in southeast Washington. The U.S. Senate must kill this proposal before it makes a historically bad situation worse. Hanford site cleanup has been a costly federal project since the 1980s, a duration now nearly as long as the four-plus decades the site produced plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal. The Department of Energy provides about $2 billion annually for cleanup work that will be needed for years to come under the best-case plans. But those ambitions are now imperiled by the Senate. There, this year’s $731 billion National Defense Authorization Act bill was quietly amended to give the Department of Defense control over nuclear weapons, laboratories and cleanup that the Department of Energy has long held, and give the military branch budget-setting authority. This sets the stage for a potential disaster. It would enable the Pentagon to raid the deep funds needed for Hanford to boost nuclear arsenal spending instead. It also ends a long, and proper, tradition of giving civilian officials oversight over America’s nuclear resources. And it strips away accountability measures that have long served to keep the Hanford cleanup a top priority. The Senate’s Energy Committee would not be able to press the Department of Energy to keep Hanford a top priority if the military was effectively allowed to dictate Energy’s nuclear budget.
Seattle Times 30th June 2020 read more »
Hanford cleanup, PNNL money could be raided for nuclear weapons spending under proposal.
Tri-City Herald 30th June 2020 read more »