Letter: Expedite Hanford cleanup

April 17, 2014 

For more than 20 years, Hanford cleanup has struggled to meet very stringent Tri-Party Agreement requirements. A detailed plan is now needed to complete cleanup in a realistic manner, while minimizing risk and limiting time and cost.

The approach until now has required retrieval and handling of previously disposed waste, which generates more waste while exposing workers to more risks from radioactive and toxic materials.

It's time for all original authors of TPA to get together and revisit those tough requirements. Applying lessons learned and characteristics of waste retrieved from original storage and disposal locations can show what true and realistic extent of cleanup is required. That would be a good unanimous basis for the plan.

Years ago, workers suggested removing liquid/slurry wastes using proven transfer methods, drying left solids and filling empty volumes with solid waste. The filled-up enclosure is sealed, closed from elements and fenced from the public.

Cleaned roads and grounds enable tourists to freely travel Hanford in visiting the safely fenced monuments, each with audible descriptions of how it contributed to plutonium production efforts. Extensive savings of time and dollars in equipment development and operator training would be realized. These suggested changes to cleanup approach have been rejected through the years by cleanup constituents, based on "don't meet TPA requirements."

DON MEYERS, Kennewick

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