Energy Secretary Moniz visits Hanford site

<p>Ernest Moniz</p>

Ernest Moniz

New U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visits the Hanford site today, and pledges to create a new plan to help move work forward at the Waste Treatment Plant.

Moniz is meeting with Department of Energy employees today to receive briefings and updates on the construction work of the Waste Treatment Plant and other projects at the site.

He is also meeting with local leaders and contractors who are working to improve the safety culture at the site.

Before heading to Hanford this morning, Moniz held a brief news conference in Richland.

Moniz says he is working on a new plan with his colleagues to find the best ways to continue to move work forward at the site, and solve some of the technical problems there - he expects to deliver that plan by the end of the summer.

Moniz says it is important to keep the progress being made in perspective - he says since his last visit there in 1998, there have been many improvements.

"I think we do have to remember that there's a lot of very positive things that have happened. And certainly, we don't believe there are any imminent risks to the community right now. Having said that, we're getting down to the really tough problems, and the tanks and the WTP, and the pre-treatment facility, maybe specifically in the WTP, are clearly technical challenges" said Moniz.

This is Moniz's first visit to the Hanford site since being confirmed as the U.S. Energy Secretary last month.

Moniz says he is also keeping a close eye on the leaking tanks, and he plans to hold contractors more accountable for their work.