Feds Strike New Deal On K-West Basin Sludge Cleanup At Hanford
Two branches of the federal government struck a deal Tuesday on when to clean up radioactive sludge near the Columbia River.
The K-West Basin waste is a mix of decomposed radioactive fuel rods, sand and other tidbits that would fall into a sort of dirty, highly radioactive swimming pool. All that sludge was vacuumed up and put in big metal boxes, but it’s all still sitting there underwater.
The Department of Energy was supposed to take that waste up, ship into the center of Hanford and treat it. Since fall of 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency has said the federal Department of Energy has been out of compliance -- they didn’t start getting the sludge away from the river. So the EPA was assessing fines of up to $10,000 per week.
This latest deal says the EPA will fine DOE $125,000 and sludge removal will be complete by the end of 2019.