Monday, January 10, 2005

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Report faults DOE's efforts to decommission Hanford wells

When I was little, the family have been using water well as the main source of water supply. Not till 1959, then the family start to have the water piped into our new home then.

I first visit my Late parent's home town in China in 1988. Then my grandma still drinking the Water from the Family well. I was told that our family well have been suppling water to the people within the village on the island for nearly thousand year.

Then in 1992, I returned to the island again, I was told that the well have been sealed by the county government because of contamination. Really it is sad to knew these. I would like to see that the well contaminations need to be checked constantly & once it have to enforce the decommission, it need to be carried out without fail!! for the Great Health of our human kind.

Report faults DOE's efforts to decommission Hanford wells

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The U.S. Department of Energy has been too slow to decommission abandoned and unused wells at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear site, a new federal audit concludes.

Thousands of wells have been drilled at Hanford to monitor the release of contaminants to groundwater during decades of plutonium production for the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal. Many of the wells have been abandoned and could pose a threat to the environment as a potential travel source for contaminants to groundwater and the nearby Columbia River.

State law requires unused and abandoned wells to be decommissioned. But the Energy Department has not decommissioned those wells at Hanford in a timely manner, leaving the agency open to potential enforcement actions by the state, the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General concluded in an audit released Thursday.

The audit recommends that the Energy Department conduct a complete inventory, verify the status of all wells at Hanford, and perform a comprehensive risk assessment of them. The agency should then develop a plan to decommission wells and allocate money to implement that plan.

The Energy Department agreed to take those steps in a Dec. 9 letter by Paul Golan, acting assistant secretary for environmental management, in response to a draft of the audit.

Of the approximately 7,000 wells at Hanford, the report estimates that as many as 3,500 are unused and must be decommissioned as soon as possible.

The Energy Department estimated the total number of wells to be decommissioned at the site as 2,150, based on a 2002 plan for accelerated cleanup at Hanford. Auditors, however, increased that number based on more recent data from 2003 and 2004, the report said.

The agency had planned to decommission 520 wells by the end of 2006, but about 33 percent of the 133 wells identified for decommissioning in 2004 were not completed, according to the report.

Energy Department officials also said a lack of money had limited their ability to speed the process. The audit did not dispute that assertion, but concluded that the lack of a risk-based schedule for the work likely contributed to reduced funding.

The Energy Department has estimated that 80 square miles of Hanford's groundwater have been contaminated at levels exceeding state and federal drinking water standards. An estimated 442 billion gallons of radioactive and hazardous waste have been released into the ground at the site.

Last year, the Inspector General reported that the Energy Department had failed to make significant progress to remediate Hanford's contaminated groundwater and that pump-and-treat systems installed for that purpose had been largely ineffective.

Those systems call for workers to pump contaminated water out of the ground, run it through filters to remove radioactive contaminants and re-inject the water into the ground. Read More.....
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Report faults DOE's efforts to decommission Hanford wells

No comments:

CharlieBrown8989 aka Charlie Tan © 2006 - 2007 • all rights reserved