Cut of $119M proposed for Hanford by Trump administration

By Annette Cary/ /Tri-City Herald

May 23—The administration of President Donald Trump is proposing a cut of about $119 million from current spending for the Hanford nuclear reservation in the coming fiscal year.

Almost all of the cut is proposed for the DOE Hanford office in charge of cleanup of waste sites and facilities, including the radioactive waste tunnel that partially collapsed May 9.

The budget would total $2.2 billion plus some additional spending for security, according to information received by the staff of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Murray called the administration’s budget request to Congress “a real disappointment.”

“It puts us in a tough place to continue critical cleanup work and meet legal deadlines,” she said. “I will fight back with every tool that I have to make sure the federal government holds up its end of the bargain.”

The administration proposes a budget, but Congress makes the final spending decision.

The Office of River Protection at Hanford would see a boost of $5 million to $1.5 billion under the administration’s proposal. The office is in charge of underground tanks holding 56 million gallons of radioactive waste and the vitrification plant being built at an estimated cost of more than $17 billion to treat the waste for disposal.

The budget for the Richland Operations Office, in charge of all other environmental cleanup at Hanford and overall operations, would receive $716 million, or nearly $124 million less than current spending.

No breakdown for Richland Operations Office spending was immediately available Tuesday morning, but the Office of River Protection spending includes $713 million for tank farm work, $698 million for the vitrification plant and $93 million for a new facility planned to allow the vit plant to begin treating some waste as soon as 2022.

The overall budget request for DOE environmental cleanup of defense nuclear sites, which includes Hanford, increased to $5.5 billion, or $310 million more than current spending.

However, the administration moved some work from its National Nuclear Security Administration budget to the environmental cleanup budget, which accounts for most of the overall proposed budget increase.

Hanford, near Richland in Eastern Washington, produced plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War.

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