Energy Secretary Visits Hanford

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Dan Brouillette visited the Hanford site the week of Aug. 10 to observe the progress in cleaning up decades of nuclear weapons production. Personnel at the site are preparing to treat the radioactive waste currently held in underground tanks.

Brouillette, along with Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar and U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, toured various facilities on the nuclear reservation, including key sections of the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) under construction. The group addressed completion of the startup testing and cleanup progress at the nuclear reservation.

The Secretary said he was pleased to see the “tremendous work” the site’s 11,000 employees had done. USW Local 12-369 has about 560 members at the site who work for six contractors that report to the DOE.

“We are now getting ready to move into the tank cleanup phrase and address it in a safe, timely and cost-effective manner,” Brouillette said.

Hanford officials updated the Secretary on the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system, which will pretreat tank waste for vitrification, a process that turns waste into glass.

Brouillette cut a ribbon at the WTP Analytical Laboratory, which completed startup testing and has additional laboratory testing equipment and personnel. He also visited the WTP’s Low-Activity Waste Facility, where pretreated tank waste will be turned into glass, and toured the control room, where technicians are monitoring and remotely controlling systems as part of startup and testing activities.

Brouillette complimented the work he had seen at Hanford. “I think the future at Hanford is every bit as bright as its past,” he said.

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