New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz promised a new plan to clean up Hanford by the end of this summer.
During his first official visit to Hanford since being confirmed a month ago, Moniz met with reporters in a cramped hallway for 15 minutes before beginning his tour.
He said his plan would address the many technical challenges at the nation s most contaminated site, including leaking nuclear waste storage tanks and a stalled facility designed to convert the waste into stable glass logs that can be safely stored.
In response to questions about continued problems with contractors and whistle blowers, the secretary said he planned to hold contractors across the facility more accountable for their work.
He said he would meet with whistleblowers to get a firsthand account of what problems they face when pointing out problems.
Moniz said funding is not easy during the current economic situation, but said now was not the time to ease up on efforts to get Hanford s waste treatment facility up and running.
He said a lot of progress has been made at the reservation but we are now getting down to the toughest problems.
No reporters were allowed to accompany him on his tour and the department said there would be no media conference afterward.