OLYMPIA-- The State of Washington was extremely disappointed to hear from the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) on Thursday that two more milestones agreed to in the 2010 Hanford Cleanup Consent Decree with the State are at substantial risk of being missed. USDOE Secretary Ernest Moniz called Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday to inform him of this information
The two milestones are the completion of waste retrieval from two of Hanford’s aging single-shell tanks (C-102 and C-105) and the completed construction of the Low Activity Waste Facility, one of the key facilities at Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant. These milestones are due at the end of September and December 2014, respectively.
The latest at-risk milestones are in addition to two major milestones related to the Waste Treatment Plant facilities and startup that USDOE told the State in November 2011 it would be unlikely to meet. USDOE has yet to provide justification for these delays or propose a new path forward.
“This Consent Decree was signed in late 2010 and approved by a federal court with the understanding that all the requirements could be met,” said Governor Inslee. “"Secretary Moniz called me on Thursday to tell me about this. It was our second conversation on Hanford cleanup since he recently assumed office. I appreciate the Secretary placing a high priority on Hanford cleanup and know he understands that to hear from the federal government less than three years later that, not only two, but now four of those milestones are at risk is unacceptable to the State of Washington.”
The Consent Decree established requirements for completing construction and beginning operations of Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant. It also requires retrieval of waste from 19 of Hanford’s aging underground storage tanks.
“The people of Washington deserve answers. The U.S. Department of Energy must show the State that it is doing everything within its power to avoid or minimize any possible delays,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
“We expect the federal government to provide the State with specific reasons for the delays, the nature of the review by USDOE and its contractors, the environmental risks of the delay, and the recovery schedule USDOE proposes for completion of these milestones,” Ferguson said.
In addition to concerns about missing Consent Decree milestones, the State continues to push for USDOE to provide details of its plans to deal with a leaking double-shell tank and six leaking single-shell tanks that were announced last fall and winter.
“Removing the waste from these aging tanks and completing the Waste Treatment Plant are two of the state’s highest priorities for cleanup at Hanford,” said Governor Inslee. “We expect the federal government to do everything within its power to avoid or minimize any possible delays in meeting all its legal and moral requirements to protect the health of our residents and the Columbia River. We are evaluating all our options to ensure those commitments are met.”
- Janelle Guthrie, Communications Director, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, 360-586-0725
- Jaime Smith, Media Relations Director, Gov. Jay Inslee, 360-902-0617
- Dieter Bohrmann, Department of Ecology, 509-372-7954