DOE releases 5-year Hanford cleanup plan

October 11, 2022, 9:37AMRadwaste Solutions

By fiscal year 2027, Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) will ramp up toward producing 21 metric tons of low-level radioactive glass a day, according to the Department of Energy’s five-year plan for the site near Richland, Wash.

The plan, which was released on October 3 and opened for a 31-day public comment period, outlines what cleanup work will be initiated or completed at the Hanford Site during FYs 2023–2027.

In addition to the treatment of Hanford’s tank waste, the five-year plan highlights efforts undertaken by the DOE to reduce risk at the site through environmental remediation and the decommissioning and demolition of legacy facilities. Efforts to maintain and improve Hanford’s infrastructure to support the department’s cleanup mission are also noted.

Background: As a result of nuclear weapons production, the Hanford Site produced approximately 56 million gallons of mixed radioactive and chemical waste that is currently stored in 177 underground tanks. Under its Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program, the DOE will stabilize Hanford’s low-level tank waste by turning it to solid glass through the vitrification process. The DOE intends to begin hot commissioning of the WTP’s Low-Activity Waste Facility, which will vitrify the waste, by the end of 2023.

According to Hanford’s five-year plan, the DOE will resume construction of the WTP’s High-Level Waste Facility in 2025. Full construction of that facility was suspended in 2012 because of technical challenges associated with treating HLW. The DOE adopted the DFLAW program in 2015 to allow for the treatment of Hanford’s LLW before all of the HLW challenges were resolved.

Comments: Feedback on the Hanford five-year plan can be submitted by November 3 to 5YearPlan@rl.gov (preferred) or by mail to:

Attn: Jennifer Colborn

U.S. Department of Energy

P.O. Box 450, H5-20

Richland, WA 99352

A public meeting will be held at 11:45 a.m. (PDT) on October 20 in Kennewick, Wash., which will include an option for virtual attendance and participation.


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