Natural Gas Pipeline For Hanford Plant May Go Under Columbia River

Jan 23, 2012

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy is starting work on a plan to build a 30-mile natural gas pipeline to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. The announcement Monday includes few details but the pipeline would likely go under the Columbia River.

Hanford’s waste treatment plant is going to need a lot of power. After all, its purpose is to mix radioactive sludge with glass material to form molten liquid. That brew, once cooled, would form huge glass logs for long-term storage.

The Department of Energy is paying Cascade Natural Gas up to $5 million to complete the planning and permitting for the proposed gas line project. The pipe would come from the Pasco area, across the Columbia River and then through the Hanford site. If approved, the pipeline would likely burrow under the Columbia’s riverbed.

Energy spokesman Cameron Hardy says natural gas would be more efficient and burn cleaner than powering the waste treatment plant with diesel. He says the pipeline planning should take about two years.

On the Web:

Department of Energy press release:

Hanford Waste Treatment & Immobilization Plant Project:

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