Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concerns with the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal to reclassify high-level radioactive waste as low-level radioactive waste in Hanford’s C Farm Tanks.
Latest on Trump Administration Effort to Skirt Cleanup at Hanford:
National Regulatory Commission’s Independent Review Raises Red Flags
Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concerns with the U.S Department of Energy’s (Energy) efforts to shortcut cleanup of highly radioactive waste at Hanford’s C Tank Farm.
Energy proposes to reclassify high-level radioactive waste as low-level radioactive waste for 16 high-level waste tanks at Hanford—the so-called Waste Incidental to Reprocessing Determination (WIR Determination).
On May 8, 2019, the NRC publicly released their comments and request for additional information on Energy’s WIR Determination. Many of the NRC’s concerns reflect critiques Riverkeeper, Yakama Nation, and non-profit groups around the country have raised, providing significant validation to our comments and even more concern that Energy’s proposal will leave radioactive waste grouted at Hanford.
The NRC’s comments validate that Energy failed to:
- consider if key radionuclides were actually removed from tanks, pipes, catch basins, and ancillary equipment;
- use conservative data on concentrations of waste remaining in the tanks; and
- consider if the grout would mix with or adhere to the tank wastes.
The NRC conducts its independent review as part of interagency agreement with Energy. As a result, Energy must respond to the request for additional information and comments by August 1, 2019, before completion of the NRC’s review.
As Riverkeeper and others have repeatedly stated, re-defining waste is not cleanup.
Hanford is the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere.