Alliance for Democracy

Hanford as national nuclear dump – nuclear waste on our highways, in our communities.‏

Posted in Hanford Nuclear Reservation by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on February 9, 2010

USDOE plans to use Hanford Nuclear Reservation as the nuclear dump site for the nation!

USDOE plans will mean truckloads of nuclear waste being transported on I-5 and I-84!

USDOE plans will mean that much of the existing waste will not be cleaned up!

 Hanford is the most contaminated site in the western hemisphere and that is where the US Department of Energy proposes dumping America’s future nuclear waste (much of it from weapons production).

 That is one of the preferred alternatives contained in the USDOE draft Tank Closure & Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Now with a name like that, one would think they would be concerned with site clean-up and waste management/containment. But instead the EIS preferred alternatives would bring the nation’s nuclear waste to Hanford before it is cleaned up.

 Among the EIS preferred alternatives is to

  1. leave the most contaminated waste in the leaky Single Shell Tanks which have leaked over 1 million gallons into the soil already. That leaked waste has been moving into the Columbia River and it has been doing that at a much faster rate that the US DOE thought possible. While the preferred alternative would remove 99% of the waste still in these tanks, the most intensely contaminated waste is in the 1% to be left behind. Drinking water miles from the tank farms would be contaminated at a level 50 times greater than the state of Washington’s cancer risk cleanup standard in the year 3600.
  2. leave most of the million gallons of High-Level Nuclear Waste which leaked from the tanks as well as billions of gallons of waste which was discharged from the tanks into the soils near the tanks as it currently exists. The US DOE preferred alternative would cover all this waste in a landfill closure; i.e., cover them with dirt but otherwise leave them in place. Their theory is that this waste will not move from it’s present location. Yet we know that this waste has already been moving toward and into the Columbia River. It will continue to do so even by the US DOE’s own admission.
  3. entomb the Fast Flux Test Facility, a nuclear reactor at Hanford which operated until the early 1990s. Entombing would involve leaving the reactor in place but entombed in cement. The reactor used a sodium cooled process. The sodium would be treated at Hanford but the extremely radioactive pieces would be shipped to Idaho National Lab for treatment and then shipped back to Hanford.
  4. separate the high-level waste from the low activity waste which is in the tanks and subject 50% of the waste to vitrification (glassification). The fate of the remaining 50% would be decided some time after 2015, involving treatment methods which are less environmentally protective than vitrificaton.
  5. use Hanford as the nation’s nuclear waste dump site as soon as the vitrification plant is operational in 2022. Note that the 2022 date for beginning to use Hanford as the national dump could be lessened.

 Turning Hanford into the national dump site would result in an estimated 17,500 truckloads of radioactive waste on our highways going to Hanford; that is I5, I84 or I90. That is more than 2 trucks per day for more than twenty years. These shipments will cause cancer in our communities, right where we live.

What are the People’s preferred alternatives?

We want the US DOE to clean up 99.9% of all the tank wastes.

We want the US DOE to remove the tanks and clean up the soil contamination caused by the tank leaks.

We want the Fast Flux Test Facility to be removed, not entombed.

We want a decision to build a second vitrification plant and treat all waste to the vitrificaton process.

We don’t want Hanford to be designated the nuclear waste dump for the nation.

We don’t want our highways, running though our communities, to be used to cover massive amount of nuclear waste to Hanford.

What you can do?

Attend a public meeting on the US DOE Environmental Impact Statement. See the end of this email for list of meeting but for most of our Portland area readers, note that the Portland meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 10th. Details below.

Make comment online or via written letter or via fax. Comments must be received by March 19th, 2010.

Comments should be directed to
Mary Beth Burandt
DOE Draft TC&WM EIS Comments
Office of River Protection
PO Box 1178
Richland WA 99685
Email: TC& or via fax: 1.888.785.2865

The hearings are (all start at 7 PM with a pre-meeting workshop starting at 6 PM)

Wednesday, Feb. 10th, 7PM
Doubletree @ Lloyd Center
1000 NE Multnomah St.

La Grande
Monday, February 22nd
Eastern Oregon University
Hoke Union Bldg
1 University Parkway

 Eugene, OR
onday, March 1st
Hilton Eugene and conference Center
66 East 6th Ave.

 The Portland Chapter Alliance for Democracy has been working on this issue for the past year. Included in that as been notifying the City of Portland in meetings with former Portland Mayor Tom Potter and present Mayor Sam Adams of these EIS, and testifying to the Portland City Council. Most recently, we mailed letters to all the elected mayors, city and county councilperson as well as the Metro councilpersons along the Columbia River and in the Portland metropolition telling them of the danger of this EIS. That letter is attached

 Please use that letter plus materials on the Heart of America Northwest website for additional information in writing your comments.

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter, 503.232.5495

This email will be posted to the Alliance for Democracy blog at

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