us department of energy

Anna King / Northwest News Network

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Hanford site outside of Richland, Washington, Tuesday.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/h99dl7h

Hanford officials and community boosters In southeast Washington are hosting a celebration Thursday at an historic nuclear reactor. A signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday made the Manhattan Project National Historical Park official.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On November 10, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior will enter into an agreement establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Feds Hand Hiring Authority Back To BPA

Sep 30, 2014
Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Energy says the Bonneville Power Administration can be in charge of hiring new employees again.

Jan Arrhenborg / Wikimedia

A proposed liquefied natural gas terminal near Astoria, Oregon, received the U.S. Department of Energy’s blessing Thursday to export to all overseas markets. It's a necessary approval to make the controversial project pencil out, but many hurdles remain.

Office of the Governor

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the U.S. Department of Energy is failing to provide him a “comprehensive” Hanford clean-up plan.

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington officials say they’re disappointed but not surprised by news that the federal government likely will miss several more cleanup deadlines at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

At Hanford, radioactive sludge stews in aging underground tanks not far from the Columbia River. A 1989 agreement created the timeline for treating that caustic gunk. But the task has proven extremely difficult: A waste treatment plant has been plagued by whistleblowers, critical federal investigations, cost overruns and delays.

Hanford.gov

Federal officials are trying to figure out what to do about radioactive materials that remain at a place near the Columbia River known as the 300 Area. It’s the subject of a series of public meetings that kick off this week.

The 300 Area was where workers milled uranium rods and tested ways to process plutonium during WWII and the Cold War. They poured about 2 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste a day into sandy ponds and trenches right next to the Columbia River. Cleaning up buildings and material there has kept crews busy for 20 years.

NASA

The head of the U.S. Department of Energy has decided to reshuffle the management of the agency. Those changes at the top may shift how cleanup gets done at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington.

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, has added another top manager position to his ranks. The new hire will watch over Energy’s environmental cleanup work.

This means that work at Hanford will be separated out from a much larger nuclear security program. That might give more attention to cleanup at Hanford.

Bonnevill Power Administration

There's been a management shakeup at the Bonneville Power Administration. The U.S. Department of Energy replaced BPA's agency head and chief operating officer without explanation. The move came just before the Tuesday morning release of a damaging Inspector General report.

You won't find BPA's name on the masthead of your electricity bill, but the federal agency probably has a big role in keeping your lights on. Bonneville is this region's biggest wholesale electricity and transmission supplier.

The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to pay $136,000 in fines for allegedly mishandling waste left over from plutonium production at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The penalty comes from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Department of Energy doesn’t agree with EPA's findings.

US Department of Energy

Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy visits Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington on Wednesday. Among the issues he will have to deal with are the leaking underground tanks of radioactive waste and the troubled waste treatment plant.

From his resume, it appears Moniz isn’t short on brainpower. He’s been on the faculty of MIT since 1973. Secretary Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Imagine paying less than a dollar per gallon for your commute, compared to today's statewide averages of $3.84 in Oregon and Washington and $3.80 in Idaho for a gallon of gas. Eighty-four cents in Idaho and Washington -- or 96 cents in Oregon -- per gasoline gallon equivalent is how much the US Department of Energy figures it costs to recharge an electric car in each state.

The agency's assistant secretary David Danielson announced an online cost comparison calculator Tuesday for what he calls the "eGallon."

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/h99dl7h

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the state attorney general say they’re quote ‘extremely disappointed’ that the U.S. Department of Energy may miss several key deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The two milestones that may be missed are: completing waste retrieval from two of Hanford’s aging single-shell tanks and finishing up construction on the Low Activity Waste Facility, one of the key parts of Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant.

US Department of Energy

The Obama administration’s new secretary of energy says his top priorities are responding to climate change, safely managing the nation’s nuclear stockpile and fostering scientific research. Ernest Moniz made the comments at his swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.

He also mentioned the need to clean up the nation’s Cold War legacy waste. That would include work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington, “Including attention to the communities and workforce as we go into a somewhat uncertain future again, especially in terms of the budget environment.”

C-SPAN

President Obama’s nominee for U.S. Energy Secretary says he’ll visit the Hanford Nuclear Reservation soon if he’s confirmed. 

White House

President Obama’s pick for energy secretary can expect a lot of questions about the Hanford Nuclear Reservation at a confirmation hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden chairs the committee considering physicist Ernest Moniz to head the sprawling federal agency.

As the new energy secretary, Ernest Moniz would be saddled with a lot at Hanford, never mind the rest of the nation. There are leaking tanks of radioactive waste, groundwater contamination and the troubled waste treatment plant meant to bind up 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge in glass.

Hanford Waste Plan Under Debate In New Mexico

Apr 4, 2013
US Department of Energy

CARLSBAD, N.M. - Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a plan to send some nuclear waste from leaky storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to southern New Mexico. The proposed new storage site is near Carlsbad and it's called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. WIPP, as it’s known, has been prohibited from receiving Hanford tank waste for nearly a decade. Now, New Mexicans are debating whether to reverse course, and accept some of the waste.

Strickling Family

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Jason Strickling and his wife Lana of Pasco, Wash. are planning some extra time with the kids this summer. That’s because she works for a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor in southeast Washington and her employer is requiring her to take about five weeks of unpaid leave before September.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/h99dl7h

RICHLAND, Wash. – As many as 4,800 workers could be furloughed or laid off at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. It’s the result of the federal spending cuts known as the sequester. Hanford will need to cut $182 million in cleanup work according to a federal letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee released Tuesday.

White House

RICHLAND, Wash. – President Obama’s nominee for the next federal Energy Secretary is no stranger to the cleanup work at the Northwest’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Ernest Moniz was Energy undersecretary during the Clinton Administration and back in the late '90s he faced scrutiny about tank leaks at Hanford.

The problem -- and question then -- was whether about a million gallons of leaked radioactive tank waste had reached the groundwater and was headed toward the Columbia River. Or if it was staying put in a dry layer of soil, above the groundwater.

Department of Energy

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The latest Hanford waste leak will be on the agenda as Washington Governor Jay Inslee meets Friday with US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. Meanwhile, Washington’s Attorney General says legal action to force a more aggressive clean up schedule at Hanford is possible.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Major portions of the cleanup work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation could stall if budget cuts known as the sequester start in March. The impasse comes just as two tanks at the southeast Washington site may be leaking.

A report by the Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee estimates that the budget cuts beginning in March would furlough more than 1,000 workers at Hanford for about six weeks. The document also says that pumping radioactive tank waste out of suspect underground tanks to newer vessels would be delayed.

US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Problems at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be a key issue in the confirmation hearings for the next Secretary of Energy. That’s what Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said after he toured the southeast Washington site Tuesday.

Wyden chairs the Senate committee that will consider President Obama’s pick to replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Oregon Democrat toured Hanford’s tank farms, where millions of gallons of radioactive waste is stored. Two of those tanks have possible leaks.

US Department of Energy

  RICHLAND, Wash. – News out of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can sometimes sound like just one critical report after another. In fact, last week a federal watchdog agency said Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant is in jeopardy. Several developments lately have intensified the debate over this question: Should a massive federal waste treatment plant move ahead or stop to fix its nagging technical problems?

US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – The federal government plans to release a major document early next week that could guide a couple of decades worth of cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This is important because it maps out decisions like where to bury the radioactive waste, and how much to leave in place.

The new document is huge -- 6,000 pages huge. And it’s taken about 10 years to draft.

U.S. Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are readying pumping equipment at a slow-leaking radioactive waste tank in case the leak gets worse. A newly released report details why the tank became unstable.

Hanford officials say so far they’ve found no waste leaking into the environment from the tank called AY-102.

The new report says many of the tanks original welds from 40 years ago didn’t meet standards and had to be fixed before it was filled. Later, super-hot waste was added that was likely corrosive to the tank’s metal walls.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

The massive factory at Hanford is supposed to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. That goo is currently in leaking, aging underground tanks near the Columbia River.