Thursday, November 4, 2010

University students dig deep into Hanford burial ground issue

By Erika Holmes, Community Outreach & Environmental Education Specialist, Nuclear Waste Program

To prepare for the recent public workshops about cleaning up Hanford’s 200 Area radioactive solid waste burial grounds, John Price, our Tri-Party Agreement Section manager, presented to 96 amazing students whom we hope to continue working with in the future.

The first stop on our west coast tour was at Avram Hiller’s undergraduate environmental ethics class at Portland State University. Next, we headed north to the University of Washington to visit two more classes: Amy Hagopian’s graduate-level public health policy seminar and Holly Barker’s undergraduate cultural anthropology special studies course on Hanford.

To gain fresh perspectives, we also enlisted these students’ help in unearthing this complex topic. The public health policy students, who had recently taken a Hanford Site tour, produced two research reports that the Hanford Advisory Board are considering as they weigh in on the issue. You can read these reports (Protecting Health: Criteria for the Hanford Burial Grounds and Hanford Radioactive Solid Waste Burial Ground Position Paper) and the informative flier they created about the burial grounds.

The cultural anthropology students created posters, started a Facebook group (Team Hanford), and hit the campus to spread the word about Hanford to their classmates (see photo right). Thanks to their efforts, we had significantly higher attendance at the Seattle public workshop than we did in Hood River and Portland.

As planning for burial ground cleanup continues, we need continued public input and interest. To find out more, check out the factsheet and frequently-asked-questions. You can also view the public workshop presentation and the Department of Energy’s work plan.


Jacinta said...

Thank you for coming into our class and showing your commitment to primary stakeholder involvement!

Erika Holmes said...

You are so welcome, Jacinta! John and I had a great time, and we really enjoyed talking with you and your fellow classmates. Your questions and insights about Hanford cleanup are valuable, and we hope you will stay involved.