Hanford

No total Hanford cleanup cost to be released in 2017

The canyon of Hanford’s U Plant, one of five large processing plants at Hanford, is shown after the canyon floor was cleaned out in 2010. New deadlines cover its demolition.
The canyon of Hanford’s U Plant, one of five large processing plants at Hanford, is shown after the canyon floor was cleaned out in 2010. New deadlines cover its demolition. Courtesy DOE

Hanford regulators are giving the Department of Energy a pass this coming year on figuring the remaining cost and schedule for Hanford cleanup through 2090.

The last lifecycle report released by DOE put the estimated cost for remaining environmental cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation at $107.7 billion. The estimate covers cleanup that would be largely completed by 2060, plus some post-cleanup oversight.

DOE is required by the legally binding Tri-Party Agreement to prepare a Lifecycle Scope, Schedule and Cost Report annually. The requirement is among concessions DOE made to get tank farm and vitrification plant schedules extended under the 2010 consent decree filed in federal court.

There have been so many recent changes to Hanford work plans, along with deadline changes and extensions, that DOE and its regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology, have agreed that the next report should be skipped. The Tri-Party Agreement has been amended to reflect the change.

The 2017 report was due Jan. 31, 2017.

Modifications ordered in federal court this year to the 2010 consent decree have extended deadlines for emptying certain Hanford waste tanks and for building and starting operations of the vitrification plant being built to treat the tanks. Plans and deadlines for cleanup for other central Hanford projects, including demolition of large processing plants, also were changed this year, along with the schedule for retrieving and packaging temporarily buried waste that may be contaminated with plutonium.

“These re-alignments will result in significant re-planning of associated work scope, schedules and costs that will not be completed in time to be fully reflected in the 2017 Lifecycle Report,” the Tri-Party Agencies said in an announcement Wednesday.

Instead, DOE should focus its efforts on the 2018 report, they said.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews

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