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.

Extensions related to Covid-19 bumped the startup of Hanford’s Low Activity Waste vitrification plant to March 2024, from Dec. 31, 2023. The scheduled startup of Hanford’s high-level waste treatment plant in 2033 has been kept intact. (Courtesy Bechtel National Inc.)

Covid-19 slowed but did not stop progress on Hanford cleanup

An act of God. Or, among lawyers, a force majeure. Many contracts have force majeure clauses to govern what happens when faced with circumstances beyond anyone’s control. The global Covid-19 pandemic certainly falls into this category. How much did Covid-19 affect Hanford’s cleanup mission? Not much in the big picture. Some tank waste pumping will…


Hanford plant is on cusp of melting waste after an eventful 2020

The Hanford site team has consistently supported our nation during unprecedented times and this year has been no different. The innovation and determination of our workers, from the most experienced leaders to those just starting their careers, have ensured success throughout our site history during both the national security mission of the past and today’s…

Local officials, including Washington’s congressional delegation, are working to ensure the new leaders in the executive branch understand the complex cleanup work that needs to continue at Hanford. (Courtesy Bechtel National Inc.)

What does a new administration mean for Hanford?

What does having a new president in office mean for Hanford? Specifically, what does it mean to have President Joe Biden, a former vice president and longtime U.S. senator, in the Oval Office? What does it mean to have Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, at the helm at the U.S. Department of Energy…


State’s new manager hopes to offer fresh look at Hanford’s challenging issues

As the new manager for the state of Washington’s Nuclear Waste Program, I appreciate the opportunity to reach out and introduce myself to the Tri-City community. I’ve been on the job at Nuclear Waste for the past several months, but I’m not new to this area or its economy and concerns. I’m a 50-plus year…

Construction is complete on all facilities at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant needed to begin tank waste treatment via the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program. (Courtesy Bechtel National Inc.)

You’ve heard about the vit plant, but do you know what it will do?

Every community has a local language, terms that are commonplace to locals but baffling to visitors. For the Tri-Cities, “vitrification” – the process of superheating nuclear waste with glass-forming materials for safe long-term storage – is one. It has been bandied about since the 1980s as plutonium production ceased at Hanford and later, in 1989,…


Bechtel’s vitrification plant heating up in 2021

Progress is heating up at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. Also known as the vit plant, the project is taking a permanent step forward at the end of this year – heating up our first 300-ton low-activity waste melter. The melters are the heart of the vitrification process, which will turn Hanford’s waste into…


Building on past progress for a brighter future

Jan. 25 marked our official start of work as the new contractor for nuclear waste cleanup on the Hanford site’s Central Plateau and along the Columbia River. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford cleanup mission, the Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) will continue the risk-reduction activities managed by previous contractor, CH2M…

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