Groups host forum on Hanford waste transport

U.S. Energy Department official to speak at March 12 event

A community discussion will be held at 6 p.m. March 12 about Hanford nuclear reservation and the impact of transporting nuclear waste through the Gorge.

The event is sponsored by Columbia Riverkeeper and Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

It will take place at Solstice Cafe in Bingen, Wash. Admission is $5 and includes pizza and salad.

For details contact Theresa Labriola at theresa@columbiariverkeeper.org or 541-490-2411.

Ken Niles, administrator of the Oregon Department of Energy’s nuclear safety and energy emergency preparedness division, will join the discussion.

Niles manages Oregon’s involvement in cleanup at the Hanford nuclear site, the safe transport of radioactive materials through Oregon and emergency preparedness in the event of a nuclear accident.

Currently, there is a moratorium on most, but not all, shipments of nuclear waste to the Hanford nuclear site. Even so, in 2011, 27 shipments of radioactive material were transported on Interstate 84, through the Columbia River Gorge.

These shipments included waste from hospitals, nuclear power plants, industries, universities and the Navy destined for disposal or treatment at Hanford.

Friends of the Gorge and Riverkeeper issued this statement in a press release about the event:

“Transport of nuclear waste upstream to Hanford isn’t the only threat that Hanford poses to our communities. Hanford is the most contaminated site in the western hemisphere, and contaminants such as chromium, strontium, uranium, and iodine-129 leach into the Columbia River.

“The import of additional nuclear waste to Hanford could increase the damage to human health and the Columbia River.”

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