Cleanup Plans for Hanford Site Are Taking Center Stage - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cleanup Plans for Hanford Site Are Taking Center Stage

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NEAR RICHLAND, Wash. - The clean-up plans for the Hanford site are taking center stage.

Right now, construction on the Vit Plant is backlogged and the 2019 deadline for completing the plant is in serious danger. The Department of Energy has released what they're calling "a *frame-work* for discussion" concerning the waste treatment and immobilization plant.

Work has stalled due to technical issues surrounding both the complex radio-active waste, as well as this first of it's kind facility.

DOE's framework recommends "a phased approach" that would allow for some vitrification of low-level waste much sooner by bypassing the pre-treatment facility and the engineering problems DOE is dealing with there.

"WTP was a difficult project right from the start. No question about that. So if there's new ways to do things that achieves the same outcomes, then that's good. I want to see the totality of the framework. The point is, they're starting to talk," said Congressman Doc Hastings.

Congressman Hastings says he's glad to hear something new after years of no changes.

The Hanford site is home to 56-million gallons of waste that is stored in 177 underground tanks. At least six of the single shell tanks are currently leaking small amounts of waste into the ground.

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