Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Judge dismisses Hanford whistleblower case

Oct 12, 2012

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.

Report: Hanford unprepared for early start on cleanup

Oct 9, 2012

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hanford whistleblower may not get jury trial

May 6, 2012

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.

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.

RICHLAND, Wash. — About 150 Occupy Portland protesters went on a field trip to Washington state this weekend to protest nuclear war, nuclear energy and nuclear waste.

They were visiting Richland, Wash., which is next to Hanford nuclear reservation.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy says a Hanford contractor tried to interfere with an investigation into nuclear safety at the site. That’s according to letters from top Energy officials in an ongoing debate over the site’s safety culture.

Earlier this month independent investigators within the Department of Energy were conducting interviews about Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant. They wanted to interview Donna Busche, the plant’s nuclear and environmental safety manager and a high level critic.

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Top managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say they’re going to have to reexamine key components of a massive waste treatment plant under construction in southeast Washington. That’s according to testimony at a marathon hearing in Kennewick Thursday.

The federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board was there to listen to concerns about the plant being built to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Nuclear Reservation's tank farms in southeast Washington may have much more plutonium than earlier estimated. That's according to a report by a Hanford contractor that's just been leaked to public radio. At least one high-level Hanford official worries the findings could mean a massive waste treatment plant's design might need to be altered.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A Benton County Superior Court judge in southeast Washington has dismissed a Hanford whistleblower's case against a government contractor. That means that whistleblower, Walt Tamosaitis , will have to appeal if he wishes to keep fighting the Hanford contractor.

RICHLAND, Wash. – After more than a year of waiting, a high-profile Hanford whistleblower will argue in court Monday that his case should be heard in front of a jury. But federal contractor Bechtel argues the case should be thrown out.

The U.S. Senate heard testimony Tuesday on protecting whistleblowers who work on federal projects. A key witness was the well-known Hanford Nuclear Reservation whistleblower Walt Tamosaitis.

He testified he was taken out of his high-level management role on Hanford's waste treatment plant after he raised safety concerns. He now works in a basement office.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill asked Tamosaitis what effect that has had on the larger project.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is treating more contaminated groundwater than ever before. In November alone, pumping stations at the southeast Washington site churned out a record 100 million gallons of treated groundwater. That could fill more than 150 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Deep beneath Hanford there are massive plumes of contaminated groundwater inching toward the Columbia River. The plumes carry toxic stuff like radioactive contamination and hexavalent chromium.

Pages