Morning Briefing - March 28, 2016
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March 28, 2016

WTP ‘Communication Plan’ on Slate for Next Hanford Advisory Board Meeting

By ExchangeMonitor

Officials with the Energy Department and Washington state will discuss their public communication plan for the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) on April 13-14 at the next public meeting of the Hanford Advisory Board, according to a notice published Thursday in the Federal Register.

The DOE-chartered group also will host, among others, a presentation on safety culture at Hanford, a former plutonium production plant that is now the country’s largest nuclear waste-cleanup project with its 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste.

The board’s various committees will also present their individual reports on topics ranging from liquid waste cleanup to public involvement at the sprawling site, which covers nearly 600 square miles just north of Richland, Wash.

DOE is in the final stages of completing a contract modification with Bechtel National that would allow the San Francisco-based WTP prime to start construction on the parts of the facility intended to start treating less-contaminated, low-level waste at Hanford by 2022. DOE officials in March said the modifications would be done “soon.” Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that high-level waste-treatment operations at WTP must begin by 2036.

Just after that March 11 court decision, Monica Regalbuto, DOE assistant secretary for Environmental Management, told lawmakers the total cost for WTP would increase substantially from the department’s 10 year-old estimate of $12.3 billion — still the most current public estimate available.

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