Governor Jay Inslee will meet this week with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to discuss the leak at Hanford. The radioactive leak at the nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington will also be addressed by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who will be at Hanford to make an announcement Tuesday.
Wyden’s fact-finding mission and tour was actually scheduled well in advance of the announcement last Friday of a leaking single-shell tank. Wyden was expected to talk about continuous delays and setbacks of the Hanford cleanup, so this will fit right into the point he wants to make.
Wyden, like many others in the state, are frustrated with the rate of the cleanup and deteriorating tanks that have already leaked an estimated one million gallons of high level nuclear waste.
Last week, Inslee was clearly agitated to learn that one of those tanks has been leaking at a rate of up to 300 gallons of waste per year.
Construction of a plant to convert that waste into a less dangerous glass form is way behind schedule and has had several setbacks. Wyden is clearly not satisfied with the pace of the cleanup.
“Our region has looked at various cleanup plans, and the price tag has gone up and up,” said Wyden.
Wyden is also reportedly frustrated with the continued import of radioactive materials from other parts of the country to Hanford. As newly appointed Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Wyden is in a position to force some changes, and he is expected to lay out some of those plans Tuesday.
KING 5's Gary Chittim contributed to this report.