Hanford Safety Testing Will Cost 'Tens-Of-Millions'

Jun 26, 2012

Construction on large sections of a waste treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will slow down because of major new testing that’s required. That’s the announcement Tuesday from top managers at the U.S. Department of Energy.

How much longer, and how much more money? Those are the questions the Department of Energy is trying to answer about its huge waste treatment factory in southeast Washington. The more-than-half-built facility has been under fire by high-level dissenters.

One federal engineer named Don Alexander pressed his serious technical questions about erosion and corrosion of pipes and parts in the factory. After about a year of study, his concerns have proven valid.

David Huizenga, an Energy Department manager, said in a conference call with the press that scientists will have to run big experiments to find answers.

“We’re all frankly disappointed that this waste stream is so complicated and it’s causing us these kind of issues and these kind of problems.”

Large sections of the plant will slow or halt construction until these technical issues can be resolved through large-scale experiments and study.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Panel report:

Waste Treatment & Immobilization Plant Project:

Waste treatment fact sheets: