Energy secretary to visit Hanford next week

June 13, 2013 

Obama Cabinet

MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz smiles as he stands on stage in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 4, 2013, where President Barack Obama announces he would nominate Moniz for Energy Secretary.

CAROLYN KASTER — AP

— New U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will visit the Hanford site Wednesday.

While testifying Thursday before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Moniz called Hanford "one of our most challenging environmental management projects."

"I have committed to a plan to address the serious issues at hand, and I look forward to visiting Hanford next week and determining the path forward on the project," he said.

During his April confirmation testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Moniz promised Sen. Maria Cantwell,

D-Wash., he would visit Hanford soon and that he had no objection to the creation of a national park there that includes the historic B Reactor.

He also said he would work with Cantwell, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and energy committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on quickly putting together a plan for Hanford.

Moniz was sworn in as the 13th energy secretary May 21 after being approved 97-0 by the Senate on May 16.

Moniz, a nuclear physicist, previously had served as undersecretary of energy in President Bill Clinton's administration. He also was a longtime faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In a statement issued Thursday, Cantwell praised Moniz for putting Hanford cleanup, one of the world's largest and most complex projects of its kind, at the top of his to-do list.

Along with getting to see the progress and challenges facing Hanford cleanup firsthand, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, said the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources would like the secretary to meet with members of the Tri-City community.

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