DOE Agrees to Improve Waste Management at Central Hanford - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DOE Agrees to Improve Waste Management Practices at Central Hanford

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HANFORD, WA. - The U.S. Department of Energy will pay $15,000 to improve waste management practices in central Hanford.

The state Department of Ecology and the Department of Energy have signed an Agreed Order to make the improvements. The agreement will also better comply with the Department of Ecology's requirements on how to handle dangerous waste at three Hanford facilities that manage hazardous and radioactive waste.

The three facilities are the Central Waste Complex (CWC), Waste Receiving and Processing Facility (WRAP), and T Plant.

DOE agreed to a total stipulated penalty of $261,000 and will pay the $15,000 immediately. The Department of Ecology will also suspend the balance while DOE makes changes according to the agreed schedule.

The Agreed Order requires DOE to make a number of changes in how the agency manages mixed wastes at the three facilities. The changes include:

  • More immediate notification to Ecology when there are spills or other incidents.
  • Prompt response to incidents when they happen.
  • Better reporting on the cause of violations and the corrective actions taken to prevent future incidents. 
  • Changes in sampling and identifying the chemical nature of stored wastes.
  • Proper management of waste containers.
  • More frequent inspections covering more features of stored wastes and storage buildings.

"DOE is responsible for ensuring the safe storage of waste and compliance with the dangerous waste regulations," said Ecology Nuclear Waste Program manager Jane Hedges.  "DOE cooperated with Ecology staff to identify fixes for the violations and concerns, and has agreed to a schedule to implement the changes."

The Ecology Department first found violations of state Dangerous Waste Regulations for Waste Management Units during two inspections at WRAP and CTC in July 2011 and February 2012.
DOE has agreed to address concerns identified at these facilities, as well as T Plant, which is operated together with CWC and WRAP.