Hanford

The Hanford site serves as a key piece of the Tri-City economy.  Our special coverage takes a closer look at Hanford’s workforce, cleanup efforts and costs, and the status of key projects, including the massive vitrification plant currently under construction at the 586-square-mile site in our backyard.

The basin of the East Reactor, shown here, was demolished a decade ago, but it remains in surveillance mode for now, awaiting final cocooning, or stabilizing. (Photos courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

Hanford site cleanup story unfolding

By Arielle Dreher There’s no question plenty of contamination remains at the Hanford site. But let’s pause a moment to reflect on how much has been cleaned up: 2,300 tons of spent nuclear fuel resting near the Columbia River moved to dry storage.20 tons of leftover plutonium stabilized and shipped off site.More than 20 billion…

The Tri-Party Agreement was designed with a bias towards preserving the Columbia River from contamination, which led to the installation of several groundwater treatment facilities that treat contaminated water before it reaches the river basin on the Hanford site.

DOE looks to way to replace outgoing workers

Hanford’s workforce is made up of more professional support staff than engineers, scientists or technicians. More than 9,000 people are directly employed with efforts at the Hanford site, based on recent U.S. Department of Energy data. That’s more than the individual population of three neighboring cities: Prosser numbers 6,125, Connell 5,460, and Benton City 3,405.…

Catwell visits Hanford

Urgency, momentum progress at Hanford

By Brian Vance A sense of urgency is building at the Hanford site as we get closer to delivering on our commitment to safely, efficiently and effectively treat tank waste and close Hanford tanks; continue to remediate waste sites and facilities; and reduce risk to our employees, the public and the environment. As the manager…

Hanford's Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant is preparing to start treating tank waste as early as 2022. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

DOE explores methods to treat waste that could cut expenses

Cleanup of the nuclear waste-contaminated Hanford site will cost another $323.2 billion to $677 billion and continue until at least 2078, according to the latest projections released by the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s why the Department of Energy is exploring new approaches that could reduce both the timeline and costs associated with the cleanup…

Single shell tank

Several major Hanford contracts to be awarded in late summer

Contracts worth tens of billions of dollars are being systematically awarded for work to be performed at Hanford, covering prime responsibilities at the nuclear waste site and operating under new models. “It’s an important and critical time for collaboration,” said Mark Heeter, public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office. This…

Hanford roadwork

Small businesses tap into government work

The U.S. Department of Energy’s prime contractors awarded nearly $785 million in subcontracts in fiscal 2018, a figure representing more than 30 percent of Hanford’s roughly $2.4 billion budget that year, according to a recent Department of Energy report. While most of the prime contractors have aggressive small business subcontracting goals written into their contracts,…

waste treatment plant

Vit plant ramps up for next phase

Round-the-clock staffing is in place at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant as Bechtel National Inc. prepares to process low-activity waste by 2023, but possibly as soon as 2022. There hasn’t been 24/7 staffing at Hanford in more than 20 years. Earlier this year, the analytical laboratory at the plant entered its startup phase,…

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