Senate Race Heats Up Over Hanford - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Senate Race Heats Up Over Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash.- The Washington Senate race is heating up.

The Hanford watchdog group Heart of America Northwest criticizes Republican challenger Mike McGavick over his stance on Hanford cleanup.

McGavick is all for cleanup at the site, but believes there are some long term resources we need to take advantage of.  However, Heart of America Northwest says cleanup is the only thing we should be doing.

The Department of Energy is proposing sending nuclear fuel for reprocessing at Hanford, d now, the Hanford watchdog group is hitting McGavick hard over his stance on the issue.

"Mike McGavick apparently never learned the lesson that the rest of us learned in kindergarten, which is you have to cleanup your mess before you get to make a new one," said Gerry Pollet, Executive Director of the group.

McGavick swiftly responded, defending his position.

He said we would not have to send more waste to the site, failing to use the resources could be financially crippling for the Tri-Cities.

"This is just a politically driven attack by people who oppose any continued nuclear activity in the Tri-Cities, and I think that would cause this great national asset of all that talent in the Tri-Cities to be dispersed, and I don't think the nation and the region are well served by that," he said.

The plan would allow use of the FFTF nuclear reactor at Hanford.

They would run the reactor in a national effort to expand the nuclear energy program. Senator Cantwell's camp responded with this.

"Senator Cantwell believes we should continue research on nuclear solutions, as part of a balanced national energy policy. But this certainly shouldn't come at the expense of cleaning up existing nuclear waste," a statement from her camp said. 

More than 53 million gallons of waste sit in Hanford's tanks, awaiting vitrification.

Treatment is expected to start by 2019.

McGavick adds that the reactor could be operated without sending more waste to the site.