Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Environment
5:53 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Inslee Expresses Concern Over Hanford Leaks, Other Areas of Site

Washington Closure Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday expressed his continuing apprehension over the tank leaks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He says as the Department of Energy and its contractors are evaluating more than 100 tanks with a new set of criteria, “I have real concerns about the remaining single shell tanks as well.”

Separately, Hanford managers said Wednesday they’ve successfully cleaned up a major part of contaminated land just north of Richland called the 300 Area.

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Environment
5:57 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Inslee Says At Least Seven Tanks At Hanford Leaking

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee says at least seven tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are leaking, not two. He says the Department of Energy and its contractors have apparently miscalculated data that would have found the leaks earlier.

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Environment
9:13 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Recent reports spur controversy over Hanford's waste treatment plant

US Department of Energy

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 3:08 pm

  RICHLAND, Wash. – 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?

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Environment
10:53 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Management Change For Hanford Treatment Plant

Kevin Smith is set to become the new Manager of the Office of River Protection. Photo by US Dept. of Energy

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:38 pm

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

Recently the U.S. Department of Energy announced it’s replacing the man in charge of cleaning up leaky underground tanks of radioactive waste after just 18 months on the job. That manager also oversees construction of a $12 billioncwaste treatment plant.

In Seattle, the head of the group Hanford Challenge, Tom Carpenter, says there have been too many leadership changes.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:38 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Hanford officials prepare for worst with leaking tank

Routine periodic visual monitoring (via camera) of the AY-102 annulus found material that was never before seen. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:53 am

RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers the Hanford Nuclear Reservation 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.

Hanford officials say so far they’ve found no waste leaking into the environment from the tank called AY-102.

The new report says many of the tanks original welds from 40 years ago didn’t meet standards and had to be fixed before it was filled. Later, super-hot waste was added that was likely corrosive to the tank’s metal walls.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
9:22 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Hanford Advisory Board Recommends New Waste Tanks For Hanford’s Leak Situation

View inside the space between the leaking tanks's two walls at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Photo courtesy the U.S. Department of Energy

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 4:52 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – 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. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Building new tanks at Hanford would be a major policy shift. The last time the idea was on the table was the late '90s. Federal experts warn that it might take seven years if they started now to build new tanks for Hanford’s waste.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
3:50 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

New Hanford tank leak raises questions about waste storage

View inside the space between the leaking tanks's two walls at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Photo courtesy the U.S. Department of Energy

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:53 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Now let’s shift to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the desert of southeast Washington. A double-hulled underground tank there is leaking radioactive waste.

Next week federal officials are mustering a several-hundred page report on the problem. Experts worry about what the leak means for long-term storage of radioactive tank waste at Hanford.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
7:41 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Hanford managers confirm slow leak in radioactive waste tank

Routine periodic visual monitoring (via camera) of the AY-102 annulus found material that was never before seen. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 5:57 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – 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.

This house-sized vessel is known as AY-102. It’s made of steel and concrete and buried underground to shield workers from high levels of radiation. It’s full of hazardous radioactive sludge left over from plutonium production here.

It was designed to last for about 40 years, and it’s already had its 44th birthday. The tank is leaking into the space between its two hulls in two spots.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
2:38 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Judge dismisses Hanford whistleblower case

Walt Tamosaitis blew the whistle on the U.S. Department of Energy’s waste treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 2:35 pm

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.

Walt Tamosaitis worked -– and continues to work -– for Hanford contractor URS. He claims the managers on the waste treatment plant were cutting corners. The plant is part of a massive effort to cleanup radioactive waste at Hanford.

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Nuclear waste
4:13 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Report: Hanford unprepared for early start on cleanup

Hanford Waste Treatment Plan's Pretreatment Facility as seen from the center of the construction site. Photo by US Department of Energy

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 3:27 pm

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.

The Department of Energy is building a massive complex designed to turn 56 million gallons of radioactive waste into glass logs. Hanford managers had hoped to get a head start on one facility to treat lower level waste.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
7:52 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Questions linger over piping Hanford's nuclear waste to treatment plant

The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant is located on the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford site. Photo courtesy of Bechtel

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 4:47 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. -- This week we heard that yet another top-level government engineer has serious concerns about the design and construction of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. If that wasn’t enough of a headache for the U.S. Department of Energy, there’s more. A new report from the investigative arm of that department is raising concerns about the design and construction of the system that’s intended to carry the waste to the treatment plant.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
8:38 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Washington state may be honored for producing the A-bomb

Hanford's B Reactor was the world’s first, full-scale nuclear reactor and produced the plutonium used in the “Fat Man” bomb dropped over Nagasaki, Japan. Photo courtesy Department of Energy

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:14 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress is moving forward with legislation to establish a national park devoted to the Manhattan Project that spurred the global atomic era. One of the proposed sites is at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. It was the subject of a hearing Wednesday.

Washington state played a key role in helping the U.S. develop nuclear weapons. The Department of Energy hails the Hanford site as an “engineering marvel.” It was the first large scale plutonium production facility in the world and was erected in a mere 13 months.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:10 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Hearing Focuses On Progress Of Hanford's Safety Culture

Chairman of the DNFSB Peter S. Winokur presides over a hearing on the safety culture at Hanford. Image via DNFSB video

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 5:33 pm

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant is making progress on improving its safety culture. That’s the upshot of a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. before a federal nuclear watchdog agency. But not everyone familiar with the nuclear site agreed with that positive assessment.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
8:34 am
Sun May 6, 2012

Hanford whistleblower may not get jury trial

Walt Tamosaitis and his wife outside the federal courthouse in Yakima, Wash. Thursday. By Anna King.

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:00 pm

YAKIMA, Wash. – A Hanford whistleblower lawsuit is underway in federal court in Yakima. A former high-level manager on a nuclear treatment project is asking for a jury trial, but the judge hearing the case said Thursday that’s unlikely.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
3:01 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Report: Hanford vessels fail to meet requirements

YAKIMA, Wash. — A federal audit has concluded that the Energy Department and a contractor building a nuclear plant at the Hanford reservation installed tanks that did not always meet requirements of a quality assurance program or the contract.

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