Alliance for Democracy

Hanford Nuclear to be national dumpsite – Action needed‏

Posted in Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Nuclear energy, US DOE by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on April 19, 2010

Hanford will become a national nuclear waste dump site if the US Department of Energy (USDOE) has its way. In their current Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), all of the suggested alternatives make this assumption.

This is not acceptable and the Alliance for Democracy has submitted comment stating our objections

In a letter we wrote and mailed earlier this year to all of the city and county elected officials along I-84 from Portland to the Idaho border, we stated:

The USDOE is currently seeking comment on the EIS which evaluates the environmental impacts of various alternatives for cleanup of Hanford’s most toxic wastes, as well as using Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump. Of the alternatives evaluated, USDOE’s preferred alternative is to use Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump for nuclear weapons programs, although this may not happen until after 2022.

The EIS’s preferred alternatives would result in continued and growing levels of radioactive waste leaking into the Columbia River. Receipt of off-site waste is projected to have significant adverse long-term impacts on the groundwater as well.

This additional waste (almost 3 million cubic feet which equals about 17,000 truckloads) shipped for storage at Hanford would be transported on our highways. Much of the waste is generated in California and reasonable expectation would see that transported up the I-5 corridor though major population areas. Per the US DOE’s own study, over 800 cancer related deaths will result from the transport. Their study evaluates only adult males, but women and children are more susceptible ( children 3 to 10 times more); therefore the real figure will be much higher.
Other US DOE stated preferred alternatives include

  1. removing only 99% of the tank waste which is currently in the on-site storage tanks, some of which are currently leaking. That leakage is spreading now into the Columbia River. While 99% sounds like a significant amount, in fact the 1% to be left is much more highly contaminated than the portion to be removed.OUR PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE IS TO CLEAN THE TANKS TO 99.9%.
  2. not cleaning the leaked contamination which is in the ground now. That contamination has been spreading through the underground water and is now leaking into the Columbia River. The US DOE’s EIS acknowledges that, If left in the ground, it will continue leaking for centuries and flowing into the Columbia River. Yet their preferred alternative would leave the tanks in the ground.
  3. using Hanford as a national nuclear waste dump site. As noted above, they assume this throughout the 6,000 page EIS. The law which requires EIS states that all of the alternatives have to be evaluated; yet the alternative of not bringing more nuclear waste to Hanford was not considered.

To possibly make the situation at Hanford worst, President Obama has announced that, in his efforts to control nuclear proliferation, the United States will receive the world’s nuclear waste.  Hanford could be a likely destination for that international waste.

Alliance for Democracy is calling for citizens to write a comment to the US DOE declaring their opposition to using Hanford as a nuclear dump site and to transporting nuclear waste on our highways through our communities. In addition to the letter earlier this year, we again wrote the elected officials of all the cities and counties between Portland and the Idaho border this last week. We gave them information on this danger and asked that they comment.

The Alliance for Democracy has submitted comment. The State of Oregon has submitted comment. The City of Portland has submitted comment. All are opposed to the Preferred Alternatives presented in the US DOE EIS.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams has stated the city’s opposition to the transport of nuclear waste.

Please add your comment in opposition as well. If you belong to an organization, please have your organization submit a comment.

The comment period is open until May 3, 2010. Comments must be submitted to

Mary Beth Burandt
DOE Draft TC&WM EIS Comments
Office of River Protection
PO Box 1178
Richland, WA 99685
Email: TC&
Fax: 1-888-785-2865

Below are links for further information to help you write your comments.

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

Alliance for Democracy tri-fold brochure (Note that this was written before the comment period was extended to May 3rd, 2010).
Alliance for Democracy letter to elected officials 4-16-10 which included Mayor Sam Adams’ letter rising concerns about the US DOE EIS
Alliance for Democracy comment on the US DOE EIS (3-12-10)
Feb 10, 2010 Oregonian article: Despite billions spent on cleanup, Hanford won’t be clean for thousands of years, by Scott Learn
The Water Spot – 4-1-10 Cable TV program, David Delk interviews Gerry Pollet, Exec. Director of Heart of America NW on Hanford and this EIS.

Heart of America NW


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