The Department of Energy and its Hanford regulators have scheduled the first Hanford State of the Site meeting since 2008.
The meetings will start March 16 at the Red Lion Hotel, 802 George Washington Way, Richland. It will begin with an open house at 6 p.m. and the showing of a new video explaining Hanford at 6:45 p.m.
At 7 p.m. a town hall meeting with presentations and public comment begins.
The meeting is a chance for DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology to hear public views on Hanford and answer questions.
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Possible topics include public priorities for the nuclear reservation's environmental cleanup, ensuring worker health, protecting the Columbia River, shrinking the contaminated portion of the site and accelerating cleanup of contaminated ground water.
Hanford officials use the meeting as a sounding board to get feedback from the public, in addition to the many other ways DOE, EPA and the state gather public feedback, said DOE spokesman Geoff Tyree. The meeting also offers a chance for the public to talk directly to top officials who make decisions at Hanford, he said.
In some past years the meetings have been contentious with former and current workers raising questions about layoffs, safety and health benefits.
In some cases, raising issues has led to changes.
Although no State of the Site meeting was held in 2009 and 2010, public meetings were held to discuss annual budgets, two rounds of major changes to the Tri-Party Agreement and environmental studies.
State of the Site meetings also are scheduled this year for March 29 in Seattle and March 31 in Portland. People may suggest topics they'd like discusses at the meetings by e-mailing Stateofsite11@rl.gov.
The Richland meeting will follow a daylong workshop on the proposed 2013 budget, which also is open to the public. Congress has failed to pass a budget for the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, but the Obama administration has submitted a fiscal 2012 budget proposal to Congress.
The 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. workshop March 16 at the Red Lion Hotel will kick off the public portion of planning for the fiscal 2013 budget by Hanford officials. The budget priorities for the DOE Hanford Richland Operations Office will be discussed until 11:30 a.m. and the budget priorities for the DOE Hanford Office of River Protection will be discussed from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Public comment will be heard about 3:15 p.m.