Cleaning up misconceptions about the Hanford Site

Occupy Portland’s latest protest both confusing and misleading

Eliminating corporate personhood. Taxing the wealthy. Placing caps on executive compensation.

…Something about the Hanford reactor?

Until last week, Occupy Portland’s outlined goals and demands made a modicum of sense. I could certainly see the logic in abolishing corporate personhood or reevaluating current tax law. Heck, even its questionable idea to cut the defense budget (after pulling out of the Middle East) seemed somewhat rational, given the deficit and how many necessary government programs are floundering.

But when Occupy Portland headed up to the Hanford nuclear reactors in Washington, they lost me. I genuinely have no idea what the idea there was.

The Hanford Site, a mostly decommissioned nuclear production site, has stoked the ire of environmentalists for decades. The site was originally built and opened in 1943 as part of the famous (or infamous) Manhattan Project.

At the time, it was celebrated as a technological marvel. It was the first full scale plutonium enrichment production reactor in the world. The materials it produced were used to create the first nuclear bombs the world had ever seen, including the test ones and the one dropped on Nagasaki.

The site remained active throughout the Cold War, creating tons upon tons of material and radioactive waste. Upon its decommissioning, however, love of the reactor disappeared. Environmental safety checks found that the decades’ worth of waste had contaminated the groundwater and soil around the site.

Because nuclear reactors require ready access to water (for cooling purposes, primarily), the Hanford Site was built close enough to the Columbia River that this contamination could potentially reach the water. And because of inadequate decontamination, the water from the Columbia River used in cooling the reactors was pumped back into the river while still contaminated, resulting in widespread effects.

In 1989, a large-scale cleanup of the Hanford Site was enacted. For more than 20 years now, the site has been undergoing decontamination and purification procedures. This effort, ranging over approximately 586 square miles, has been remarkably quick, considering the volume of work to be completed.

But it’s not quick enough for Occupy Portland.

The protestors at Hanford stated that the cleanup was being dragged on and not enough attention given to it. Despite the fact that they had cleaned almost 400 square miles of the original decontamination zone in 22 years, Occupiers were unimpressed. They insisted the job could be done quicker, and that those charged with cleaning the site were merely trying to “make a career” of it.

But really, the only thing that aligns with Occupy Portland’s goals is the cost. And that was only a very small part of their argument. It’s estimated that the price tag for this cleanup will reach over $20 billion by the time it is completed. A frightening number, to be sure, but considering the importance of this effort, it’s a price worth paying.

Honestly, Occupy Portland’s protest of the Hanford Site is confusing for a number of reasons. It insists that the site must be cleaned but complains about the price tag. Protestors don’t seem to understand that cleaning up a contaminated site requires dozens of highly trained officials and expensive equipment.

To make sense, they would have to choose between defending the environment and defending their financial ideals. They’re not willing to do this, so they’re trying to strike a compromise, and in so doing are simply making themselves out to be no more than unorganized hippies, waffling between what they want reality to be like and how the problem must be resolved in actuality.

Worse yet, they make comparisons to the biggest nuclear disasters in recent memory, going so far as to call the Hanford Site “America’s Fukushima,” despite the lack of danger the reactor poses nowadays. To equate Hanford to a disaster that took the lives of hundreds (during another disaster that killed thousands) is practically an extension of Godwin’s law.

The Hanford Site should not be important to Occupy. Occupy’s goals are clear: improve tax law, eliminate corporate personhood and lessen the income disparity between the lower, middle and upper class.

To Occupiers, I simply say this: Look up Sayre’s law.

To everyone else: Don’t listen to Occupy. The cleanup at the Hanford site is progressing well, especially considering the scale of the work to be done. The protest at Hanford deviates from Occupy Portland’s outlined goals, and the lack of background research misrepresents its capacity as a group.

Occupy Portland should stick to what it’s done so far. There is no reason to protest Hanford, particularly when the cleanup it wants done is already underway and progressing well.


  1. To the author of this incredibly uninformed article articulated with nonsense backed up by absolutely no facts, I am requesting an interview with you to 1. clear up your lies, 2. educate you, 3. educate the public which may not know the facts around Hanford’s cleanup and certainly isn’t the wiser after having read your article, and 4. let you attempt to understand why Occupy would care that the private corporations of the 1% are not only bilking the taxpayers of BILLIONS of dollars, but are lying and cheating their way to the bank with the help of people just like you.
    If you go to our website, there is a contact page. Use it. I would be happy to speak truth to you utter nonsense.
    Miriam German
    Occupy Portland:Hanford Committee

    • I’m sorry for the typos. I am so annoyed by the lack of substance and insight in your article that I’ve typed too quickly, once again. But my request to talk to you about why A15 took place stands. Thank you.

  2. DOE plans seismic analysis at Hanford
    By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald
    POSTED: Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2012
    The Department of Energy is taking a new look at earthquake hazard at Hanford, conducting an assessment that will update the last comprehensive one conducted in 1996.

    Federal regulations require assessments for natural hazards, such as earthquakes, at sites such as the Hanford nuclear reservation to be updated when there are significant changes in methods or data.

    That now appears to be the case.

    The U.S. Geological Survey has shown that the active faults of the Puget Sound Region are connected to ridges in the Mid-Columbia by faults that cross the Cascades, according to Steve Reidel, the Herald’s Northwest Geology columnist.

    Previously, geologists looked at Eastern Washington as a geological world independent of the Puget Sound, Reidel said.

    In addition, the USGS has dug trenches down to fault lines near Selah and Ellensburg that showed the faults there cannot be considered inactive, said Bob Bryce of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The DOE national lab in Richland has a contract to perform the new analysis, which will include outside experts, and will be managed by Bryce.

    Other agencies, including British Columbia and Washington utilities, also are producing information that could contribute to a new analysis of the earthquake hazard at Hanford. And more seismic monitoring has been done at Hanford since that 1996 analysis.

    In the region, the largest earthquake recorded was a magnitude-5.7 earthquake 72 miles from Hanford at Milton-Freewater in 1936, according to data collected for the design of the Hanford vitrification plant. In addition, Eastern Washington was hit by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 in 1872 near Lake Chelan, Reidel said.

    Methods also have changed since the last full assessment in 1996. The state of the art of probabilistic analysis has improved, said Paul Harrington, DOE assistant manager of technical and regulatory support. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has recently improved its guidance for probabilistic analysis, which includes the process of gathering data, evaluating it and using it in a hazard model.

    The process will estimate hazards based in part on the characterization of information such as where and how often earthquakes occur in about a 50-mile radius from Hanford and how big they are.

    Information about how ground motion is transmitted to Hanford as it moves through rock also will be considered. Factors such as a possible quake’s magnitude, distance from Hanford and faulting direction will be considered in the ground motion characterization.

    Then a more specific characterization will be done to look at the different rock formations and other geology at the Hanford. Because of work in 2006 and 2007, including drilling bore holes, to determine if seismic design standards were adequate for the Hanford vitrification plant, little additional work may need to be done on site geology.

    A project kickoff meeting is planned next week in Richland. Then three workshops will be held to identify technical issues and data needs, to discuss alternative interpretations of the data and then to allow technical teams to receive feedback from a peer review panel.

    A report on the study is expected to be completed in August 2014.

    Until it is completed, DOE won’t know whether there is a need to update seismic design standards for new facilities at Hanford or a need to take a look at existing facilities, Harrington said.

    – Annette Cary: 582-1533; [email protected]; more Hanford news at

    New Seismic Study of Hanford

    The Department of Energy is taking another look at the potential earthquake hazard at the Hanford site. This will be the first comprehensive seismic study since 1996. The DEO says state of the art tools to estimate earthquake risks have improved in the past 16 years. The result…
    New Seismic Study of Hanford
    The Department of Energy is taking another look at the potential earthquake hazard at the Hanford site. This will be the first comprehensive seismic study since 1996. The DEO says state of the art tools to estimate earthquake risks have improved in the past 16 years. The result…read more
    And this….
    Earthquake hazard at Hanford to be studied – Wire – State & Regional – Read more here:

    Energy Department Fined $500,000 for Hanford Radioactive Spill

    RICHLAND, Washington, December 6, 2007 (ENS) – The Washington State Department of Ecology has issued a $500,000 penalty against the U.S. Department of Energy, DOE, for a release of radioactive hazardous tank waste to the soil at the Hanford Nuclear Site on the Columbia River in central Washington.

    The waste endangered workers and brought a halt to cleanup of the leaky underground single-shell tanks.

    The spill occurred on July 27, 2007, when contractor CH2M HILL Hanford Group was pumping waste from a tank. Workers tried to unblock a pump by running it in reverse. This resulted in a high-level waste spill to the ground.

    “Over 80 gallons of highly radioactive tank waste spilled to the environment,” said Jane Hedges, manager of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program. “Before the spill was discovered, a series of poor decisions put workers in grave danger from exposure to the tank waste and vapors. This accident calls into question the adequacy of the safety culture which is so critical at the tank farms.”

    Hedges, who leads the state’s oversight of the Hanford cleanup, said, “We are troubled by the length of time it took CH2M HILL and the Department of Energy to determine there was a release of radioactive tank waste. There was a delay of more than seven hours from the time the first high radiation readings were discovered. This is completely unacceptable.”

    The interior of a single-shell tank at Hanford containing highly radioactive waste (Photo courtesy DOE)

    The state agency investigated the circumstances surrounding the spill, including the equipment design, incident notification, and emergency response. A series of administrative and engineering failures were found to have contributed to this accident.

    The DOE conducted its own investigation using procedures reserved for the most serious of accidents at agency facilities, and identified contributing causes to be inadequate engineering reviews and testing, work controls, industrial hygiene, radiological protection, medical response, and emergency management.

    Ecology’s penalty cites two violations. The first involved inadequacies in the design of the waste retrieval system.

    “The Raw Water System used to provide dilution water for the pump had no backflow equipment to prevent waste from backing up into it,” said Eric Van Mason, inspector for the state agency.

    The system is designed to supply water, not to transfer or contain waste. When the pump was run in reverse, tank waste traveled into a rubber hose above the ground. The rubber hose ruptured, resulting in the spill.

    The second violation involved inadequate engineering reviews. The Tank Waste Retrieval System design was not adequately or fully reviewed in accordance with state regulations.

    Van Mason said, “The inspection found that too few staff were on the job to manage the incident during the graveyard shift. Inspections determined that lighting was inadequate in the pump pit area, and poor positioning of the S Tank Farm video camera also contributed to the delay in response to the accident.”

    As a result of this accident, all work related to retrieving the liquids from Tank 241-S-102 has been stopped. Additionally, all tank waste retrieval work throughout the tank farms has been suspended until the contributing factors can be identified and resolved and work can resume safely.

    The Department of Energy has already missed several deadlines for retrieval of waste from the 149 single-shell tanks.

    “Radioactive tank waste is the greatest human health and environmental risk at Hanford,” said Hedges. “Getting the waste out of the aging, leaky Hanford tanks is the state of Washington’s top cleanup priority. The mismanagement of the retrieval work that caused this spill has set back the already delayed tank retrieval work even further.”

    Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved


  3. Thank you for your insight it is much appreciated. I do think that the liabilities of the Hanford site are of grave concern to the general public and especially those of us down stream and down wind for that matter.

    Bechtel as recently as this month has laid off hundreds of workers. This corporation is being funded by taxpayers. Bechtel also works with the ALEC non profit that was protested by Occupy Portland and over 80 other cities. This “non-profit” organization has become synonymous would allowing corporations to quite literally model legislation and bribe lawmakers to do their bidding.,_Inc.

    What happens if and when a mistake is made? I know of zero perfect people on this Earth. With the BP gulf spill, one engineer has been indicted. Just one, and that’s not even radioactive waste. Please consider the economic and environmental impact this has had on their local communities.

    There is an operational nuclear power plant at the Hanford site that continues to produce even more radioactive waste.

    So while we may not agree on everything we can agree that Hanford is a serious enough issue that external oversight is needed by people that aren’t in the pocket of the corporations accepting funds and contracting with our government.

    Again thank you for your insight and I look forward to your continued observations and feedback.


  4. To Janieve Schnabel:
    Had you gone to the actual event you are writing about you would know that it was not a protest but a Rally For Awareness. You were sort of correct in saying “tons and tons” of radioactive waste; in reality that means 56 million gallons of radioactive waste of undetermined constituents in 177 underground vessels, which over a third are leaking and have not been touched. Two thirds of the radioactive waste in the US is at Hanford. Of the 400 square miles that have been decontaminated, all that was done was the removal of structures that were housing the contaminated insects, birds and rabbits. Very little has been done for the 2000 downwinders that have a two decade old case. Nor has any of the victims from the 1953 Green Run been acknowledged. Nor has there ever been any testing of the food being grown around Hanford perimeters. Bechtel is paid 2 million dollars of tax payers funds A DAY; with little progress to show for the last 22 years. Is this enough for the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere?
    This article is an embarrassment to college level journalism, there is entire paragraphs that could have been copied and pasted from Wikipedia. If you are going to be a writer, do the research first. Otherwise you come across as a condescending, righteous, misinformed dolt.

  5. Progressing well? Seriously? The project is 8 years behind. The toxic waste is leaking in to the ground and traveling towards the Columbia. I understand this to be an opinion piece, but usually opinions are usually backed by some facts that support your opinion. Unfortunately, I don’t see that in this article.

  6. I would love to share with you some sentiments from author Marc Pilisuk, “Who Benefits from Global Violence and War” (2008). Pilisuk dedicates a portion of his scholarly writings on the atrocious “clean-up” project that you feel is going so well. Here is a small sample from that section:

    “Years after Hanford was preparing plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons, it became a clean-up project. Hanford is the most contaminated work site in the Western world, and the DOE has not performed its safety mission well. People who worked on this clean-up effort have been suffering serious health consequences and filing complaints that they had been misled. A report by the Government Accountability Project documents the DOE’s pattern of interference with Hanford workers’ claims, its inability to effectively oversee Contract Claims Services Incorporated, and its ongoing failure to resolve concerns…” (p.26)

    Consider the “clean-up” of Hanford the ultimate symbol for the War in Afghanistan. The clean-up initiative has been moving slowly since 1990, when Secretary of Energy James Watkins announced that Oregon and Washington residents had been exposed to radioactive absorption more than 26,000 times that of Three Mile Island for the past quarter-century. Nearly 22 years later, the project is heavily funded – much like the War in Afghanistan today -with contractors profiting from the elongation of the project – much like the War in Afghanistan. Because contractors know that the DOE’s budget is tied directly to the DOD (that’s the Department of Defense), they also know that the budget is unlimited.

    Now, if you were a supervisor in charge of a project that many suspected would take an eternity to complete, and you were given a guaranteed paycheck for as long as it took your workers to complete the job, wouldn’t you hang out for a little while? If worker complaints of being sick jeopardized such a generous paycheck, it seems only logical that those complaints would be intercepted and subsequently denied at the highest levels.

    Please take also into careful consideration that today, April 25, 2012, the Department of Energy just announced it would extend its cost-plus, award fee contract with CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company. Cost-plus means that the more money CH2M spends on this project, the more money they will make in return.

    There is no hypocrisy here. The price tag is too big because it is unlimited. This affects the status of the project because the contractors assume it can go on indefinitely. There is no effective oversight from the DOE. Workers and residents, as well as our beautiful Columbia River, are sick. Yet, the DOE and DOD continue to kick Hanford under the rug? Enough! Of all the Oregon issues that should or could involve Occupy Portland, this one is the most pertinent.

    Erin Niemela
    Senior Undergraduate, PSU


    1) You forgot to mention that Occupy Portland also wants all nuclear reactors in Cascadia closed, including the Columbia Generating Station.
    THIS is the fukishima we do not want to wait for.

    2) We want accountability from Bechtel. They’ve wasted a HUGE amount of our money through horrible management.

    3) Who paid you to write this tripe?

  8. thank goodness that this is labeled as an “opinion” piece, because that frees you up from the need to print a retraction for this incredibly irresponsible article.
    it depresses me that someone who’s job it is, even in the smallest part, to educate and inform people could be so uneducated and uninformed about a subject he/she is writing about.
    in the interest of full disclosure I truly hope that the moderator prints all of the challenges to this article, as Im sure there will be many,
    shame on whoever speaks from an authoritative position about a subject that they obviously know very little about.
    especially about such a serious matter.
    tisk, tisk, tisk…

  9. The writer of this article doesn’t get it. The rally wasn’t just about Hanford, it was about getting rid of all nukes. We simply can’t afford them. The energy that was supposed to be “too cheap to measure” is in fact far too expensive. But the people who are really going to pay for this aren’t the ones who are counting their money money now. It will be our children who will pay with their health and their lives, because of greedy nearsighted fools who couldn’t see past the Corporate hand that feeds them. Google A15 Hanford Rally and listen closely to what was said by the speakers whose videos are now all posted on YouTube.

  10. OK, there was a lot of fury in the comments from the Occupy Portland and Occupy Hanford organizers here, even going so far as to attack the “journalistic integrity” of the college writer. First of all, this is an OPINION piece in a college newspaper. Secondly, as an opinion piece, it was much better written than most of the opinion tripe written these days by both the professional and amateur ranks. Thirdly, his article, while not citing specific facts, was actually fairly accurate. I say this as a regular supporter of occupy activities, a far left progressive, and someone who was actually at the Hanford rally. The only part of the article I took real issue with is the name calling of the Occupy movement. As someone who dearly wants the message of occupy to win, however, he is right in pointing out that diluting the message to nuclear power in this case – and supporting it with partial truths as was done at the Hanford rally – does discredit the overall occupy movement, and helps support the “hippie” image that the right wants to paint it in.

    Finally, Miriam, your response to this article was appalling. You call him out for his numerous “lies” without addressing a single one of them directly. Then you refer him to your own created page (which could be described as propaganda – although I agree that there is a lot of good information on your page) to educate himself on the topic. These are tactics that are more reminiscent of Americans For Prosperity (I am sure I don’t have to expound on that to someone as well educated as yourself), than those I have come to expect from the occupy movement.

    I understand you are frustrated, but the moral high ground comes with the responsibility of greater diligence and patience.

  11. I re-read Janieve Schnabel’s article once more with much interest as well as the many comments which were sent in. Clearly those who commented are much more aware of the facts than Ms. Schnabel. Ms. Schnabel referenced Godwin’s Law and Sayre’s Law. I want to reference my Mother’s Law which was “don’t spend money you don’t have”. And she was not a Nazi. And even though my last name is “German”, I am not a Nazi either. So with that, let’s look at facts.

    First, our issue with Hanford is not about nuclear reactors. They have long been shut down. It is not about the cold war or what it took to win WWII. We are concerned with the cleanup. We want to see the cleanup proceed quickly so the Northwest is not at risk. Ms. Schnabel must certainly know that in the past radioactivity has been detected in Portland. More importantly, I assume she knows this came from Hanford. There are 177 tanks with 56M gallons of hazardous waste stored in them. One third that we know of have been identified as leaking into the ground around them. The Columbia River is almost within a stones throw of these tanks. The tanks are made of carbon steel. No carbon steel known to man has lasted forever. The tanks are way past their design life. The waste must be put in a stable form safely and efficiently.

    This is by most accounts the fourth attempt by DOE to clean up Hanford. This latest attempt started in 2001 by Bechtel, was suppose to cost $4.6B, and start up in 2008. Today the Bechtel estimate is $13B and startup is in 2019. But, other estimates including a unofficial rebaselining estimate indicates the cost will exceed $20B and startup will not be until after 2020. And realize that the first attempt to cleanup Hanford started in the early ‘80’s. So, “making a career” out of this work is an understatement. Generations could have careers in this project.

    Ms. Schnabel then tries to say that the work is very challenging. So was the cleanup at West Valley, NY, and the Savannah River Site in SC. West Valley and Savannah River vitrify waste just as Hanford is suppose to. Oh, West Valley completed their mission and is done. Savannah River? Oh, they have been vitrifying waste for about 15 years and are well along in their cleanup. And, more interestingly, both sites completed their projects on their first attempt—not the fourth, or fifith, or sixth, or……….

    Now back to my Mother’s Law. Where does Ms. Schnabel think the money comes for this dragged out effort? From us, the taxpayers, of course. I wonder if Ms. Schnabel is aware of the state of our Nation’s economy? And is Bechtel or their “partner” URS impacted? Hell no. They continue to make their profits. We cannot just keep printing money and throwing it to the Hanford contractors. Another way to look at the Bechtel contract is that for every year they have worked, they have fallen two years behind. We were closer to having the site cleaned up when they started (7 years) than we are today (10+ years to startup)!

    But Bechtel and URS must be much smarter today. They have worked on it now for over a decade. Wrong again. There are more identified major technical problems today than there were just 5 years ago. How can this happen? Because Bechtel and URS push ahead to make the profits based on cost and schedule with little regard to the quality of what they are building. In essence Bechtel doesn’t care how it runs. They will not be here to run it. If it runs at all.

    Which brings me to a couple more of the “laws” my mother used to quote: “do it right the first time” and “treat your product as if it is your signature for everybody to see”. Bechtel does not adhere to these laws so finally the problems catch up to them and now you have more problems than you had years ago. And what are the problems? The trapping of explosive hydrogen gas in the thick waste is one. And, yes, Ms. Schnabel, this can lead to a hydrogen explosion just like we saw at Fukushima. Another problem? The potential for a criticality exists. This is an uncontrolled nuclear reaction due to the buildup of fissile material in the vessels as a result of poor mixing. And, yes again, Ms. Schnabel, this is what occurred at Fukushima. Erosion of pipes, poor process sampling, major pluggages, and inadequate controls are other problems plaguing the WTP. But I will stop there for now. She can read about many other problems both technical and cultural at the web site for the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board (

    Ms. Schnabel will probably say that nothing bad has ever occurred at Hanford. Let me correct that. Ms. Schnabel has never heard of anything bad happening at Hanford. Personally I consider about 60 leaking tanks to be a very bad event. Also, about 15 years ago an uncontrolled chemical reaction and gas explosion blew the top off a vessel and the agitator right out of it (report # DOE/RL-97-59). The resulting spill then created a contaminated area due to all the contamination of around the vessel. This was the Plutonium Reclamation Facility in 1997. Why didn’t she hear about it? It is like the other events. Nobody talks about them for fear of cutting the money flow off or increasing the scrutiny. The attitude being displayed by DOE and its contractors at Hanford is the same attitude demonstrated by them in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s (Atomic Harvest by Michael D’Antonio).

    Ms. Schnabel references our concern for nuclear power. We are indeed concerned about it. We do not think it should be pursued until a cradle to grave philosophy is developed that identifies: 1- how the operating risks will be dealt with, and 2- how the waste (spent fuel rods) will be disposed. What if it is proposed that Bechtel build the next nuclear power plant complex in our Country. With the disregard for technical issues, the ever increasing number of technical problems, cost that has increased by a factor of over 4, and a schedule delay increase of about 3X, would Ms.Schnabel vote for Bechtel to be given the project? I don’t know. I hope not. For certain, I would not. Their performance at Hanford has been pitiful.

    To Ms. Schnabel I say “understand and deal with the facts”.

    To everyone else I say: “Get involved. Write you congressional representatives. Tell them you want an investigation. Tell them you want Bechtel replaced. Tell them Hanford needs more oversight. Tell them not to throw your money away by giving it to Bechtel and URS in profits”.


    Miriam German
    Occupy Portland

  12. And since I won’t be interviewed, I’m sure, I will also submit to Ms. Schnabel that we will be going after the CGS power plant that is located on Hanford’s property but owned by NW Energy. The CGS has the potential to be shut down by the will of the people and we are moving in the direction right now to enlighten the citizens of WA that they do have the power to shut it down. I ask you, Ms. Schnabel, to do something coherent, something positive for your future and the future of the next seven generations, by helping us in closing the CGS. See what helping the environment can do for you. You have only uphill to go from where you sit today. We welcome you.

  13. This is my third posting of this same comment and it has yet to be approved. Why?

    A15 Hanford Rally says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    April 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    “I came up with Hanford — North America’s Fukushima? myself. Notice how everyone loses the question mark, but it certainly is a valid question, whether you choose to accept that or not. I’d like you to first answer each of these questions brought up by Occupy Portland before we discuss the legitimacy of the actions of Occupy Portland at Hanford Nuclear Reservation. And, if you think we have no place calling out DOE and Bechtel, why does the DNFSB? Same questions, different voices…


    What will the final cost of the WTP system be at startup?

    How much more will expanded low level vit, canister storage, and other changes cost?

    Why has the startup gone from 2008 to 2022?

    How can the WTP be built if the feed material has not been defined? How do you build a chemical plant without knowing what it will handle?

    Where did the missing $15M of missing taxpayer money go for the poor quality tank fabrication? Why has Bechtel not returned it?

    Why was the mixing issue declared closed if $200M will now be spent just for more testing?

    What does Bechtel plan to do to prevent trapping explosive hydrogen gas and prevent explosions? (like at Fukushima)

    What does Bechtel plan to do to prevent criticalities from happening? (like in a bomb)

    Why is Bechtel proceeding with the design if the testing showed major pipe erosion?

    Why does DOE let Bechtel proceed with an incomplete design?

    Why is there no single list of WTP problems and issues?

    What is DOE doing with the results of the recent Health/Safety/Security culture survey?

    What will DOE do differently the next time a whistleblower raises an issue?

    How can the problems in blackcells be readily repaired at startup as Russo proposes?

    Why does DOE assume responsibility for problems that are Bechtel’s fault? Is this so that Bechtel can adjust their baseline and continue to be rewarded for good cost and schedule performance?

    What is Patty Murray. Maria Cantwell, and Doc Hastings doing to have the WTP cultural and technical problems corrected?

    Why have Bechtel and URS reduced the WTP startup performance criteria? How much more will these key requirements be reduced?

    Why did Patty Murray’s office supported Bechtel with no information in hand?

    How can DOE allow Bechtel to claim technical issues are closed when there is so much work yet to do on them? How will Bechtel and URS obtain representative process samples?

    Why has DOE not called for a stand-down on the WTP pretreatment until an acceptable path forward can be defined? (Continue work on the other parts but fix PT issues).

    Why does Secretary Chu delegate all actions to Dan Poneman (a lawyer) when the DNFSB several times recommended Dr. Chu’s direct involvement?

    Why does the DNFSB not have enforcement authority?

    DOE is not capable of being both the owner and the regulator. Who will be designated to provide the oversight of DOE?

    The amount of hazardous nuclear waste in the tankfarm was once cited to be about 53 million gallons. Now a number of 56 million gallons is cited. Why is it increasing and how much of this has leaked into the environment? How much will have leaked by 2022?

    Why is DOE considering putting a pretreatment facility in the tankfarm, i.e., a pretreatment facility for the WTP pretreatment facility? If pretreatment will not work in the WTP, why will it work better in the tankfarm? If one does not work, will two work better??

    What did DOE do with the tankfarm WTP oversight group recommendations? This was the Contract Line Item Number (CLIN 3.2) Group. Why were their reports never made public? Why did DOE now do away with the CLIN 3.2 oversight group?

    Why is Bechtel both the Design Authority and the Design Agency and then paid for cost and schedule performance with no responsibility for long-term operations?

    Why are there 5 active Level 1 Technical Findings that DOE has taken no action upon? Why hasn’t Knutson acted promptly to address these?

    Why is Bechtel and URS reimbursed with taxpayer money for all the costs associated with their legal defense if they created the problems?

    How much total money has been spent on Bechtel’s and URS legal defense efforts?

    Why is a $20 Billion plant being built with the chance that hydrogen explosions, criticalities, irreversible line pluggages, and major erosion can occur?

    In October 2010 at the DNFSB public meeting, Russo said Bechtel would issue a definitive plan by August 2011 (Public Testimony pg. 221). Where is it? Russo also said key design testing would be done in 2012 (pgs. 142, 143, 165). When will the testing start? When will the large scale mixing tests really be done?

    All waste must have cesium removed and therefore be filtered. All solids then become non-Newtonian. How can Knutson say that “80%” of the waste can easily be treated? (pg. 225).

    When will Congressional members investigate what is going on and correct it?


    Answer me each of these questions with supporting facts, and then let’s talk about why we showed up to ask why.…”


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