Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Concerns about Hanford nuclear waste
Bechtel committed to delivering WTP safely
A recent Seattle Times editorial on the Waste Treatment Plant at Hanford did a great disservice to its readers and thousands of men and women dedicated to cleaning up the 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in aging tanks at Hanford. The editorial mischaracterizes the WTP construction schedule and cost without explaining that cost and schedule change whenever the scope and requirements are changed [“Hanford woes continue,” Editorials, Nov. 28].
It also repeats claims by a Department of Energy employee whose laundry list of issues was shown to be well-known issues that Bechtel and DOE have been transparently working for years. Our point-by-point response is posted at www.hanfordvitplant.com/uploads/34pts.pdf.
The WTP is a first and one-of-a-kind project that garners and demands significant interest, transparency and oversight. As new information is developed, we have a choice to respond or ignore it. Ignoring is not an option. Responding is not, as you state, “shoddy work.”
The best minds from academia, industry and the national laboratories have contributed to WTP’s development and continue to do so. These experts agree that WTP will perform its mission. Bechtel has done it before. We designed a much less complex but similar facility at DOE’s Savannah River Site that is eliminating radioactive tank waste there.
The bottom line is that the longer the waste remains in the tanks, the greater the risk to the people of the Pacific Northwest. We live in the communities closest to the tank waste, and we’re committed to WTP eliminating that threat safely.
––Frank Russo, Bechtel national project director for Waste Treatment Plant at Hanford, Richland