The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation has been awarded $375,000 to spend under a five-year cooperative agreement to coordinate activities ensuring safe transportation of radioactive waste across its lands.
The money was awarded by the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office for shipments of waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. The repository has accepted boxes and drums of Hanford waste contaminated with plutonium in the past.
The national repository has been shut down since February 2014 after a truck caught fire underground and then, in an unrelated incident, a drum of waste burst and spread contamination. When the repository reopens, it is expected to take waste from several other DOE sites before more Hanford waste is shipped.
The cooperative agreement focuses on training and exercises for the Umatillas to prepare emergency responders and emergency management for safe transportation of waste across Umatilla lands.
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Activities include transportation monitoring, emergency response planning, emergency response training and exercises, and public participation in safety program activities. Some equipment may be purchased.