NPR Story
4:22 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Competition Seeks To Save Money At Hanford

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 3:31 pm

Managers at the Hanford are looking for creative ways to save money through an idea competition with federal and contractor employees called the Grand Challenge.

Each team is trying to figure out a way to save the site $250,000 dollars of taxpayer cash. The competition started this summer with 28 proposals. Now that’s been narrowed to the top three.

These are not conventional cost-saving strategies like going paperless. Some of these plans describe ways to take out radioactive particles like cesium and technetium from tank waste. That could quicken the colossal process of binding up that waste into glass later.

Department of Energy manager Kevin Smith says the contest is intended to draw out great new ideas from the people who work with these complex problems every day “and see what has changed in technology over the last few years. The waste treatment plant has been in the works for a while, so things have been developed, new things known.”

Smith says the winning ideas will be chosen in about a month. No cash prizes for the winners, just bragging rights.

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