The U.S. Senate’s proposed Hanford budget would restore $114 million of a proposed Obama administration cut of $191 million to Hanford’s Richland Operations Office in fiscal 2017.
“Once again Sen. (Patty) Murray has stepped in to help gain much needed funding for cleanup, particularly along the river corridor,” said Gary Petersen, vice president of Hanford programs for the Tri-City Development Council.
The proposed Senate budget also would retain an $86 million increase for DOE’s other Hanford office, the Office of River Protection.
In total, it would put Hanford spending at $2.4 billion in fiscal 2017.
“I’m proud to say the numbers today are a huge improvement from what the president proposed,” Murray said in a statement. “I’m going to keep fighting along with Rep. (Dan) Newhouse to make sure these investments are carried through the entire process.”
The House has proposed restoring $40 million of the Richland Operations Office budget, and its budget also includes the increase for the Office of River Protection. Should the House and Senate budgets be passed as proposed, the two versions would then be reconciled by a joint committee.
The Office of River Protection is responsible for 56 million gallons of waste held in underground tanks and the vitrification plant being built to treat the waste. The Richland Operations Office is responsible for the rest of environmental cleanup at Hanford and sitewide operations from security to road maintenance.
Much of the money proposed to be restored to the Richland Operations budget would go for work along the Columbia River.
Cleanup of the highly radioactive spill beneath the 324 Building and and completion of waste retrieval at the high-risk 618-10 Burial Ground are underfunded, Murray told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in March. Both sites are near the river and within a few miles of the city of Richland.
The money that could be restored includes $74 million for work along the Columbia River plus some unspecified central Hanford work. The administration had proposed just $70 million for that work.
The money also would be used for groundwater treatment, infrastructure improvements across Hanford, and work that falls within the community and regulatory support budget category, which typically covers regulator costs borne by the federal government, emergency preparedness, the Hanford Advisory Board and payments in lieu of taxes to local governments.
“It’s so important for the federal government to provide the necessary resources to keep Hanford cleanup on schedule,” Murray said.