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It’s a worry that USA’s Dept of Energy aims for cheaper commercial treatment of Hanford nuclear waste

Feds push for low-cost commercial treatment of Hanford waste. State has concerns, BY ANNETTE CARY,, RICHLAND, WA

The Department of Energy is making plans to encase 2,000 gallons of waste now held in Hanford’s underground tanks in concrete-like grout, part of a continuing demonstration project.

DOE recently released a fact sheet that indicated its interest in continuing the demonstration project and listing what it sees as the benefits of the project, called the test bed initiative.

The project is a departure from plans to turn radioactive and hazardous chemical waste into a stable glass form at the $17 billion vitrification plant under construction at the nuclear reservation.

But DOE still needs to get other parties on board.

The Washington Department of Ecology, a Hanford regulator, has sent DOE a list of questions about the project. The state would need to issue permits and approvals for some aspects of the demonstration project.

“Current core work at the Hanford Site is already being deferred and delayed due to a lack of funds,” said Maia Bellon, Ecology director, in the letter to DOE. “We are concerned about (Department of) Energy pursuing a new initiative that could divert even more funding away from existing priorities that are tied to consent decree deadlines.”

The project also faces a congressional hurdle.

Language included in the Senate’s fiscal 2019 Hanford budget recommends no money be spent on the test bed initiative.

The Senate budget language must be reconciled with the House budget language for the same year, which was bullish on the project. It directed $15 million be spent on the next phase of the demonstration.

The first phase of the demonstration project, grouting three gallons of the 56 million gallons of waste held in Hanford’s underground tanks, was successfully completed in December.

………The state of Washington and the Hanford Advisory Board have advocated for more double-shell tanks to be built to provide more space for waste to be emptied from single-shell tanks. DOE has been opposed to building more storage tanks, saying it would rather spend money on treating waste………


July 25, 2018 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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