Department of Energy and CHPRC Fined $16,000 for Failing to Insp - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Energy and CHPRC Fined $16,000 for Failing to Inspect White Powder

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RICHLAND, WA-- The Washington Department of Ecology has fined the Department of Energy and a Hanford contractor $16,000 for failing to identify a white powder on the floor of the PUREX Plutonium Production Plant.

According to the Department of Ecology, the fine was handed down because according to Ecology, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) has known about the white powder for more than two years and still hasn't done anything to identify what it is.

The substance is inside the PUREX plant, which has been closed down since the '80's and it's located near PUREX Tunnel One, which collapsed in May, although Ecology says the powder and fine have nothing to do with the tunnel collapse.

An Ecology spokesperson says both sides have known about the white powder for more than a year, with CHPRC originally documenting it in May 2015. He says CHPRC still hasn't tested it to see if the substance is dangerous or not.

"When we noted that on our inspection in June 2016, we asked them to go back in and identify that powder, which they have not yet done," said Department of Ecology Spokesperson Randy Bradbury.

We reached out to CHPRC today for comment and were directed to DOE, who wrote back, "We have received the notice and are evaluating it as we determine our next steps."

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