Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden presses for update on Hanford clean up

January 9, 2018
Press Release

Greg Walden presses for update on Hanford clean up

Leads hearing to receive update from DOE officials on progress, timeline of Hanford clean up

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today led a hearing with Department of Energy (DOE) officials to discuss the federal government’s cleanup of nuclear waste at the Hanford Site. During the hearing, Walden stressed the importance of finishing the cleanup for people in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“The Office of Environmental Management oversees the environmental remediation projects at some of our nation’s most contaminated sites, including the Hanford Site that is located just up the Columbia River from where I live,” said Walden. “Those of us in the Northwest care deeply about that, and even more deeply about getting it cleaned up and protected, especially given some of the failures that have occurred recently with some of the tanks.”

Walden toured the Hanford Site in August of 2017 with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and today requested an update on the progress of nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford from DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar, who recently returned from assessing cleanup efforts at the site.

“Give us an update on the latest at Hanford, and where that waste would go if we ever get Yucca opened,” said Walden. “Are we still on target?”

“There are things we are moving along with that we are very excited about and think are very positive, and there are areas that have challenges. In terms of the positive areas, finally we are moving down the road of making glass at the plateau,” said Under Secretary Dabbar, referencing the process by which hazardous nuclear waste is immobilized through glass-making. 

“The DFLAW -- the low activity nuclear waste treatment plant -- is coming online. We’re going to make some glass, and we are going to clean up some tanks. We’re also looking at closing the first tank farm possibly -- the first time ever -- and we’re looking to ship some waste off site for the first time ever. There’s some very positive things that we are executing.”

Today’s hearing comes as Walden continues to lead the effort to clean up spent nuclear fuel that is sitting idle in 121 communities across 39 states throughout the country, including at the Hanford Site. Walden’s Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (H.R. 3053), by a vote of 49-4 in June of 2017. This legislation provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy, and reinstates Yucca Mountain as the cornerstone of the country’s nuclear waste disposal.

For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and full webcast, please click HERE.