Our achievements in Hanford cleanup are a tribute to the dedication of our workers, as well as the regulators, community partners, stakeholders and tribes who all contribute to completing our mission.
I am very thankful to our workers who take on this challenging and complex work. Tremendous progress was made by each of the prime contractors this year, which you will read about in their sections. What I am most proud of is this progress was completed safely. The CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company and Mission Support Alliance were recognized this year with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Voluntary Protection Program Star Status, given to companies whose employees demonstrate a strong commitment to safety and health. The Washington Closure Hanford workers exceeded 5million hours without a lost workday, an enormous accomplishment recognized across the DOE complex.
The Richland Operations Office federal work force also continues to set a high standard of performance in managing the huge scope of Hanford cleanup. We embrace our role as stewards of the taxpayer, devoting the resources available to our highest priorities. We embrace our environment, safety, health, and quality oversight role to ensure work is completed to requirements protective of the workers, the public, and the environment. We embrace our role as community partners, understanding the impact Hanford has in the lives of many.
While I am proud of what we have accomplished so far, there’s a tremendous amount of work left to do.
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We continue to make good progress in cleaning out the Plutonium Finishing Plant, the Hanford Site’s most hazardous facility, by reducing the radioactive material at risk, removing contaminated equipment, deactivating systems, and moving toward demolition by September 30, 2016.
We are continuing preparations to move radioactive sludge out of the K West Reactor basin and away from the Columbia River. The construction of the annex structure is complete, and equipment will be tested and installed in the near future.
We will also build on our successes in treating contaminated groundwater in our pump and treat systems, expanding their capacity and capabilities.
At the same time we tackle the hazardous cleanup work, we need to be mindful of our aging systems and facilities, and will be devoting resources to the maintenance of and upgrades to the infrastructure at Hanford in order to keep cleanup progress on track. With some of our buildings and infrastructure dating back to the 1940s, the challenges can be significant.
With the recently created Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a reminder of Hanford’s place in history will be preserved well into the future. We look forward to collaborating with the National Park Service on this important endeavor. The remaining facilities from the pre-Manhattan Project towns of Hanford and White Bluffs, as well as the magnificent B Reactor National Historic Landmark, will draw tourists from all over the world to the Hanford Site to learn about the massive buildup here for the top-secret war effort, the race to develop the atomic bomb, and the end of World War II.