Hanford Site

Department of Energy

There are renewed concerns about the condition of buried waste tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. The U.S. Department of Energy says one of those mammoth World War II era containers – thought to have been stabilized - is losing highly radioactive waste at a rate of 150 to 300 gallons a year.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to radioactive leaks from the Hanford reservation in southeast Washington. The Democrat made his comments Friday in response to news of an apparent leak of high level nuclear waste from an underground tank.

This would be the first leak of its kind since 2005. That’s when the US Department of Energy completed efforts to stabilize dozens of tanks that had released more than a million gallons of waste into the ground.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A tank full of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington may be leaking. Friday the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors say liquid levels in an underground radioactive waste tank are going down.

The single-hulled tank is called T-111. It’s located in central Hanford in a group of tanks called T-farm. The Department of Energy reports the rate of loss is about 150 to 300 gallons of liquid a year.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

News out of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can sometimes sound like just one critical report after another. In fact, last week a federal watchdog agency said Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant is in jeopardy. Several developments lately have intensified the debate over this question: Should a massive federal waste treatment plant move ahead or stop to fix its nagging technical problems? Correspondent Anna King has more.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A federal watchdog agency says work should stop on parts of Hanford’s troubled Waste Treatment Plant. That’s the complex factory in southeast Washington being built to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. A new report out Friday says the project will cost even more and take even longer.

The new report by the federal Government Accountability Office says the U.S. has paid contractors millions of dollars for work they didn’t do right. And the agency recommends trying to recoup those tax dollars.

U.S. Department of Energy

Federal and state officials announced this week that construction can partially resume at Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant now that some technical problems have been resolved. But a top former Hanford manager is calling for the Secretary of Energy to halt work altogether on the southeast Washington project.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

The federal government is reviewing three years of payments to a major contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The review follows growing concerns about a nuclear waste treatment plant at the southeast Washington site. Correspondent Anna King explains.

Photo courtesy Hanford.gov

When Governor Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she’ll take with her nearly a quarter-century’s worth of expertise on one of the most contaminated places on Earth.

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington environmental regulators say a new 6,000 page plan for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is very useful. But it lacks a definitive path forward for treating a large part of the radioactive sludge there.

U.S. Department of Energy

The federal government plans to release a major document early next week that could guide a couple of decades worth of cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This is important because it maps out decisions like where to bury the radioactive waste, and how much to leave in place.

U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy still has work to do to improve its own safety culture. That’s the upshot of a recent study on the federal agency that heads environmental cleanup of nuclear waste across the country, including the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington.

U.S. Dept. of Energy

A Hanford watchdog group is concerned with what it calls a “revolving door” for top managers at the nuclear site in southeast Washington.

Washington River Protection Solutions

Some of the decisions made over the last 40 years at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are coming back to haunt the site’s current managers. A new report out this week examined why a double-hulled tank of radioactive waste recently sprung a leak in its inner shell. That has raised the possibility of having to pump out the waste from the tank.

Now to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Workers are readying pumping equipment at a slow-leaking radioactive waste tank in case the leak gets worse. A newly released report details why the tank became unstable.

Bechtel National, Inc.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

U.S. Department of Energy

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation needs new storage tanks for radioactive waste, now that one of the aging double-hulled tanks has been found to be leaking. That was the consensus Friday of a board that advises federal Hanford managers.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have confirmed that a radioactive waste tank has a slow leak. That waste isn’t getting into the environment. Richland Correspondent Anna King reports.

Judge Dismisses Hanford Whistleblower Case

Oct 12, 2012
Anna King / Northwest News Network

A federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit by a high-level whistleblower against a contractor at the Hanford nuclear site. A former manager there had voiced safety concerns about the design of a plant meant to treat millions of gallons of radioactive waste.

Report: Hanford Unprepared For Early Start On Cleanup

Oct 9, 2012
U.S. Department of Energy

A new report says plans to get an early start at cleaning up some radioactive waste at Hanford may not work the way managers envisioned. The document is the latest criticism of a project to treat waste at the southeast Washington nuclear site.

U.S. Dept. of Energy

A federal nuclear watchdog is pushing Hanford managers to come up with a fix for flammable gas that may be building up in underground waste tanks. This is the latest round of criticism of the nuclear reservation in southeast Washington.

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

A federal contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation mistakenly sent a contaminated excavator to a repair shop offsite several weeks ago. No one caught the mistake until the excavator was checked back in late Monday.

Hanford.gov

The U.S. Justice Department will intervene in a timesheet fraud case at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The case began in 2009 as a whistleblower complaint against Hanford contractor CH2M Hill. Since then, eight former workers have pleaded guilty to falsifying their time cards.

Dept. of Energy

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire says she’s hoping the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s personal attention to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can avert a lawsuit over cleanup delays there. She made the comments today after a speech about Hanford in the Tri-Cities in southeast Washington.

Dept. of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu is at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation this week. Chu’s taking time out of his schedule to personally investigate concerns raised about Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant in southeast Washington.

Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

Another top-level engineer at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has stepped forward airing serious concerns about the site’s massive waste treatment plant.

In a newly-released memo, the chief engineer charges there are serious problems with Bechtel National’s design and construction of the plant. And that the company should be taken off key portions of the project. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Next month scientists at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation plan to use a robotic rover to examine an underground tank full of radioactive waste that has possibly leaked. The spill isn’t a threat at this point to people or the environment. But the possible leak is raising questions about long-term plans for treating and storing 56 million gallons of radioactive waste.

Susan Leckband chairs the Hanford Advisory Board. She says the possible leak isn’t a game changer – she thinks the government can still figure out how to bind up that waste into more-stable glass logs.

Department of Energy

Scientists and engineers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington are investigating a possible leak between two walls of a double-shelled nuclear radioactive waste tank there. In September, a robotic rover will explore the tank in question to see where this radioactive material might be coming from, and if the vessel is stable.

Department of Energy

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s so-called “black cells” are getting another look from a new high-level group of experts. The announcement today from the U.S. Department of Energy comes just as the southeast Washington nuclear site implements new safety standards for non-radioactive risks.

Department of Energy

Washington environmental regulators are hoping that crews at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will clean out three more aging tanks of radioactive waste by the end of summer. A federal judge has ordered that ten tanks in an area known as “C-Farm” have to be closed by September of 2014.

Department of Energy

A new federal report says managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation respond appropriately to most concerns brought up by employees. But the study says sometimes officials at the southeast Washington site don’t explain well enough to employees how they resolve each concern. The report also says initial interviews with concerned employees were often incomplete or too abbreviated to do a proper investigation later.

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