Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let’s talk about Hanford!

By Dieter Bohrmann, Communications Consultant, Nuclear Waste Program

After decades as the nation’s plutonium-making plant, the Hanford site in southeastern Washington is one of the largest environmental cleanup projects in the world. And we want to talk about it! Bring your questions and concerns about the progress, challenges and priorities of cleanup. Let’s hear what’s on your mind.

That’s our — Ecology, EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy — invitation to stakeholders and the public over the past several weeks as we prepared to hold “State of the Hanford Site” conversations around the region.

More than 100 people took us up on the offer on March 16 in Richland. The evening began with an open house, where the agencies, the Nez Perce tribe, some public interest groups and others set up information tables and displays.

The main discussion kicked off with a video about Hanford followed by short presentations from top managers at the three agencies (Ecology’s presentation is included below). But the bulk of the time was reserved for dialogue. And no single issue dominated the conversation. Questions ranged from worker health and safety to federal budget concerns to how to get waste out of Hanford’s 177 underground tanks. The 90-minute chat was civil, thoughtful and well-facilitated.

The lively conversation continues at the next “State of the Site” meetings March 29 in Seattle and March 31 in Portland. Check out our “State of the Site” web page for more information. If you’re unable to make it to one of the meetings, we at the Nuclear Waste Program always enjoy talking about Hanford. That’s what we do.

Drop us a note anytime at or call us at 800-321-2008.

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