The Hanford Advisory Board is concerned that administration budget requests for Hanford in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 fall several 100 million dollars below plans outlined in the latest lifecycle report.
The lifecycle report is required to be prepared annually to provide estimated costs and schedules to serve as a basis for agency and public discussion of cleanup priorities, including for discussions of annual budget requests.
"The board believes it is essential that DOE consider the budget levels called for in the lifecycle report as the foundation for the out year budgets," the board said in written advice to the Department of Energy and its regulators approved Friday at its Kennewick meeting.
The budget requests do not match lifecycle report amounts for cleanup of soil and ground water or for work at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, the board said.
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Proposed budgets do not have enough money for retrieval and treatment of temporarily buried wastes, the board said. Suspected transuranic waste -- typically debris contaminated with plutonium -- was temporarily buried starting in 1970 until the nation established a national repository, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.
Washington state officials have said they also are concerned that falling behind on transuranic waste work in 2014 will make it difficult for DOE to meet a legally required deadline for the work in 2016.
The board is concerned that the requested fiscal 2013 and 2014 budgets will not be enough for emptying radioactive waste from underground tanks while work is done to resolve safety and engineering design problems at the $12.2 billion vitrification plant. The plant is being built to treat up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste now held in tanks.
By 2014, DOE should have money in the budget to continue construction of the vitrification plant's Pretreatment Facility following resolution of safety and engineering concerns and that cost should be included in the budget, the board said.
DOE also should be looking for ways to treat some low-activity waste or transuranic waste that would not be affected by delays caused by technical problems at the vitrification plant, the board said.
Including adequate money in budget requests to clean contamination deep underground in central Hanford and to prepare for the retrieval of plutonium-contaminated waste disposed of at Hanford before 1970 are concerns, the board said.
The board also addressed budget requests for community and regulatory support, which is proposed to be cut to 50 percent of identified needs, the board said.
"This is unacceptable," it said. "Cuts have already eliminated public meetings around the region on the budget status and priorities, undercutting regional public support for efforts to increase funding for cleanup."
The community and regulatory support DOE pays for includes grants to Washington and Oregon, money for the Hanford Advisory Board and payments in lieu of taxes to Benton, Franklin and Grant counties.