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New Enforceable Schedule Set For Hanford By DOE and States

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A new agreement between the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the states of Washington and Oregon imposes a new, enforceable schedule for the cleanup of underground single-shell storage tanks at the Hanford site in Richland, Wash., federal and state officials said on Aug. 11. Hanford currently stores 53 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste in 177 underground tanks at the site. The proposed consent decree, which will be open for public comment once it is filed in federal court, would settle litigation filed last November by Washington state and Oregon to force the DOE to complete key aspects of the Hanford cleanup. The settlement sets a new schedule for construction and startup of a vitrification plant and for the retrieval of waste from the large underground storage tanks. Federal and state officials have proposed extending the deadline for removing waste from the tanks from 2018 to 2040 and for treating all the tank waste by 2047. DOE plans to review progress of the cleanup every six years to determine if the completion dates can be moved up. “This agreement will provide more certainty in meeting cleanup milestones while more quickly transitioning the site to new uses like a clean-energy park,” says U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

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