In this 2019 photo, a sign at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is posted near Richland. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

In this 2019 photo, a sign at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is posted near Richland. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

Hanford nuclear waste cleanup efforts could be delayed

A new report does not mention the Dept. of Energy moving radioactive capsules to safer storage.

Associated Press

RICHLAND— The Department of Energy has announced priority plans for environmental cleanup nationwide and indicates a slower process for the decommissioned nuclear site in Washington state, a report said.

The focus at the Hanford Site will be to start treating waste at the $17 billion vitrification plant, but the report does not detail other work at the 580-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometer) site, the Tri-City Herald reported Tuesday.

The report does not mention moving radioactive capsules to safer storage and cleaning up a radioactive spill under one of the buildings a mile north of Richland.

“It is shocking that DOE would propose to delay projects like the cesium-strontium capsules and the 324 Building contamination, which pose such great risks to the workers and public,” said Tom Carpenter, executive director for Hanford Challenge, a watchdog and worker advocacy group.

The “Environmental Management Vision 2020-2030: A Time of Transition and Transformation” report may also signal delays and decreased commitment to current plans for up to 10 years, including cleanup of contaminated groundwater flowing toward the Columbia River, the newspaper said.

“Proactively addressing these hazards before they pose an imminent risk is critically important, and frankly, they can’t wait until sometime in the 2030s,” said David Reeploeg, the Tri-City Development Council vice president for federal program.

A budget request for upcoming year by President Donald Trump’s administration proposes cleaning up 56 gallons (212 liters) of radioactive waste held in underground tanks at the site.

Reeploeg added that he was pleased there is some commitment to treat tank waste.

Hanford produced plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War and World War II.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

In this image taken Jan. 16, 2013, two people walk the beach at Discovery Park in Seattle. At 534 acres, Discovery Park is the largest park in the city and it features seaside bluffs, views of the Puget Sound, trails, a light house and a beach.  (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes )
Operating error sends wastewater into Puget Sound

The public is advised to avoid contact with the water at Discovery Park, which is near the sewage spill.

A lone man walks a dog, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, near apartments in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday, March 23, 2020, ordered nonessential businesses to close and the state's more than 7 million residents to stay home in efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle rents down 20% since start of COVID-19 pandemic

Median rents in Seattle were $1,395 for a one-bedroom and $1,739 for a two-bedroom.

Short-staffed care homes to receive help from state

Six teams will work at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and other long-term care providers.

FILE - In this May 15, 2019 file photo, the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is seen from the air near Colfax, Wash. Environmental groups are vowing to continue their fight to remove four dams on the Snake River in Washington state they say are killing salmon that are a key food source for endangered killer whales. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Study looks at impact of ocean and dams on salmon runs

Fish recovery efforts should focus on the ocean, not on freshwater, says the BPA-funded scientist.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman talks to reporters in her office, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Wyman was talking about a series of election- and ballot-security bills her office is asking the Washington Legislature to consider during the current session. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington secretary of state certifies election results

Joe Biden will receive the state’s 12 electoral votes at the Electoral College on Dec. 14.

Visitors view photos of people who were killed by police in Washington State and elsewhere, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. Police have pulled back from a part of the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood near the department's East Precinct after recent clashes with people protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Lawmakers, activists set ambitious agenda for police reform

The bills being drafted represent a broad overhaul of policing and police accountability in Washington.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Cottage during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)
Canada: US border measures to last until virus under control

About 400,000 people crossed the world’s longest international border each day before the pandemic.

Prosecutors: Hate crimes on the rise in King County

Two years ago, there were 30 hate crimes in King County. So far in 2020, the number is up to 51.

FILE - In this 2013 file photo, cone collectors like Gabe Thorne, of Hamilton, head up into the high country around the west to climb to the very top of whitebark pine and collect cones from disease-free trees in Sula, Mont. U.S. officials say climate change, beetles and a deadly fungus are imperiling the long-term survival of the high-elevation tree found in the western U.S.. (AP Photo/Ravalli Republic via AP, File)
High mountain pine tree that feeds grizzlies is threatened

Whitebark pine trees grow in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, California and Nevada.

Kennewick teen one of 1st children in state to die from COVID

About 15% of cases in Washington are in young people up to age 19.

Bellingham women suspected in terrorist attack against BNSF

They allegedly interfered with the railroad’s safety features by placing a shunt on the tracks.

In this April 22, 2020, photo, a sign at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash., directs visitors and non-hospital employees to check in at another building where health screening is done. Employees at the facility — the state's largest psychiatric hospital — say that problems with testing for the coronavirus likely produced inaccurate results and exposed them to the virus a second time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington psychiatric hospital sees spike in COVID-19 cases

Officials are scrambling to find nurses to work on the COVID-19 ward and have offered overtime pay.