Oregon Sen. Wyden Says Delayed Progress at Hanford is Unacceptab - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Oregon Sen. Wyden Says Delayed Progress at Hanford is Unacceptable

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden toured Hanford Tuesday to learn more about the cleanup progress and the challenges the Department of Energy is facing at the site.

Senator Wyden returned from his visit to the Hanford B Reactor and a tank farm with strong opinions on the future for Hanford cleanup.

Wyden said that after speaking with the Department of Energy and seeing the site, the evidence of leaks is an unacceptable threat to the Pacific Northwest.

He pledges as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee to do everything he can to make Hanford cleanup a top priority in the senate this year.

He said many people are working hard on a difficult job, but the pace of process needs to be picked up, especially in the construction of the vit plant.

"There are problems that have to be solved and right now the Department of Energy cannot say what changes are needed, when they will be completed, or what they will cost. That is not acceptable for a plant that is in theory more than half complete," Wyden said.

Wyden said as long as he's chairman of the energy committee, there will be no shortage of hearings on Hanford.

He plans to secure a commitment from the incoming secretary of energy to finally treat and dispose of all the radioactive waste at Hanford.

Senator Wyden is already in talks with Washington state lawmakers about bipartisan efforts to make Hanford a federal priority.