DOE announces alternative to disposing Hanford tank waste

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today its preferred alternative to handle certain Hanford tank waste for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, if such waste is properly classified in the future as defense-related mixed transuranic tank waste.

This preferred alternative, which may cover up to approximately 3.1 million gallons of tank wasted contained in up to 20 tanks, will provide DOE with an option deal with recent information about possible tank leaks and to expedite the overall tank waste retrieval effort at the Hanford site.

Governor Jay Inslee who is touring the Hanford site today issued this statment regarding the DOE's announcement.

"This is a good start.  The state of Washington had been pushing to get this waste out of Hanford and I'm heartened that the increased attention on these leaking tanks has prompted DOE to act.  I do have some remaining questions and concerns.  We need to make sure that this action does not jeopardize progress on the vitrification plant.  I will be insistent that the full cycle of technical review and permitting is resolved so that any grouted material does not remain in the state of Washington.  We also need a clear determination of which tanks hold TRU (transuranic) waste that can be shipped out of Washington.

Initiating retrieval of the tank waste is contingent on the DOE obtaining the applicable and necessary permits.