More than 40 years of plutonium production for America’s nuclear weapons program extensively contaminated the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. Hanford Site workers are now engaged in the world’s largest environmental cleanup project.
(The cleanup encompasses more than 1,900 waste sites, ranging from small areas of surface contamination to 177 aging underground storage tanks containing about 53 million gallons of highly radioactive and chemically hazardous waste)
Hanford cleanup is necessary to prevent further contamination of the Columbia River, which is where you come in. Although considerable cleanup progress has occurred, the remaining work will last for decades. The future of Hanford (and the health of the Columbia River) will require younger generations to be informed and ready to take the reins.
The Oregon Department of Energy’s (ODOE) Nuclear Safety Division invites you to join us for our first Hanford Leadership Initiative held a series of webinars specifically geared toward young people and Hanford newcomers. The goal of the webinar series was to familiarize future leaders with the history, accomplishments and challenges of the Hanford Nuclear Site.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – Hanford 101
ODOE Nuclear Safety Administrator Ken Niles describes Hanford history and the important cleanup related events that have taken place. In addition, he will review current issues and future needs and challenges.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 – Safe Storage and Treatment of Tank Waste
ODOE Chemical Engineer Dirk Dunning will discuss the state of the aging storage tanks that hold nuclear waste at Hanford. He will also describe progress and challenges at the multi-billion dollar waste treatment plant.
Tuesday (this week only), October 30, 2012 – Groundwater Protection
ODOE Hydrogeologist Dale Engstrom will discuss how more than 80 square miles of groundwater has been contaminated by Hanford activities, and will also provide information on efforts to remedy this contamination.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 – Natural Resources and the Trustee Council
ODOE Hanford Ecologist Paul Shaffer will review the effects of Hanford activities on ecosystems throughout the 586-square-mile site. In addition, he will detail plans for environmental restoration.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 – Radioactive Material Transport in Oregon
Ken Niles concludes the series with a discussion on radioactive material transport in Oregon, including an overview of transportation routes, material types, and shipment frequency.