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Gov. Inslee Seeking Answers from DOE on Hanford Waste Tank Solutions

Radioactive Waste Cleanup Continues At Hanford Nuclear Reservation
(Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

Inslee seeking clarification, details from the federal government,

Gov. Inslee this week sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, requesting specific details and plans about how the Department of Energy plans to specifically deal with the underground waste storage tanks at Hanford, several of which are leaking.

Moniz is considering a visit to the Tri-Cities in March, and meeting with state and local leaders.  DOE said it is in danger of meeting remaining deadlines for completion and operation of the $12.3 billion dollar VIT plant.  The plant is designed to glassify and stablize the highly toxic waste in the tanks for future storage.

DOE officials have released a framework of ideas, but it didn’t contain specific details.  One idea proposed by DOE was possibly building a secondary facility to process and treat lower-level wastes to help ease the burden while work continues on the primary VIT plant.

At a press conference this week Inslee hinted at potential legal action from the state if deadlines are missed.  Inslee was quoted as saying “we are about to the limits of our patience“  when it comes to the process of cleaning up the waste at Hanford.

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