Follow us:

Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 3, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson call for judge to amend Hanford agreement

Friday afternoon’s news dump has brought a new page in the never-ending Hanford nuclear reservation drama.

Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson are now calling on a federal judge to amend the state’s 2010 agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to set new requirements for treating and retrieving tank waste and the building of new double-shelled tanks at  Hanford.

Doing so would try and keep Hanford’s cleanup moving, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Within 13 months of signing the 2010 agreement, the federal government told the state that it wouldn’t meet the waste-treatment-plant deadlines, according to the statement.

“We need much stronger accountability to ensure our citizens are protected and the Hanford site is cleaned up,” Inslee said in the statement. “Fifty-six million gallons of hazardous chemical and radioactive waste continue to be held in Hanford’s storage tanks — now decades beyond their intended use. I have allowed the federal government substantial time to come forward with a plan that satisfies those obligations and they have been unable to make that commitment so far.”

Hanford’s single-shell and double-shell underground tanks were constructed between the 1940s and 1980s, according to a 2013 story by Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch, and “hold such a complex and caustic brew of salts, gas, liquid and sludge that the precise mix of ingredients isn’t even known for all of them.”

“As a result, the tanks have long been the 586-square-mile site’s trickiest cleanup problem and are at the heart of the nation’s most
expensive construction project: a $13.4 billion treatment plant to stabilize that waste by turning it to glass.”

The changes Inslee and Ferguson are seeking include:

  • New dates for completion of all waste-treatment-plant facilities.
  • Additional double-shell tank capacity.
  • Pacing deadlines to reduce single-shell tank-waste volume by 50 percent by 2031.
  • Additional requirements for reporting and notification to the court.

Comments | More in Federal government, Governor, Politics Northwest | Topics: Bob Ferguson, hanford, Jay Inslee

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►