Department of Energy Missed key Hanford Cleanup Deadline - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Energy Missed key Hanford Cleanup Deadline

RICHLAND, Wash.- The Department of Energy misses a key deadline for cleanup at Hanford.

Only four of the 16 single shelled tanks in Hanford's C-Farm have been cleaned out, but two more are nearly complete.

The Tri-Party Agreement required that all of them be cleaned by last Saturday, but the Department of Energy says unexpected problems slowed their effort.

Sludge in the tanks forced them to develop new technologies to deal with the problems, still, they said the work needs to be finished.

"The retrieval of single shell tanks continues to be a high priority for this office, and it's going to be a high priority for the Department of Energy and Hanford cleanup, and what we're doing is we're gaining experience with every tank we empty," said Erik Olds, a spokesman for the Department of Energy's Office of River Protection. 

CH2M Hill is the contractor in charge of cleanup.  DOE just renewed their contract for another two years.

The state Department of Ecology has the option of pursuing penalties for the violations, but may not because of the unexpected problems CH2M Hill ran into during cleanup.