SALEM — The Oregon Department of Energy and two U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site managers recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen and reinforce their more than 30-year working relationship.
The memorandum outlines Oregon’s role in providing input to Hanford’s cleanup decisions. The Oregon Department of Energy’s nuclear safety team reviews cleanup efforts at Hanford, raising issues and providing comments focused on potential impacts to Oregon and the Columbia River.
In addition to reinforcing Oregon’s continued involvement, the agreement details the ways information will be shared. USDOE, through its Richland Office and Office of River Protection, will continue to ensure that ODOE is provided information and enough time to review and comment on environmental issues and proposed actions before major decisions of interest to Oregon are made at Hanford. Further, the USDOE affirms it will work to resolve ODOE concerns within established decision-making timeframes. Both parties agree to continue to commit adequate time to meet or otherwise discuss concerns and recommendations formally identified by ODOE.
“Ensuring that decisions made at Hanford are protective of Oregon is our nuclear safety team’s number one priority,” said Michael Kaplan, ODOE director. “It’s critical that Oregon has a voice when decisions affecting our state and the Columbia River are made.”
The Hanford Site, about 35 miles north of the northeastern Oregon border, covers 586 square miles. Beginning in 1943, the site was used to produce plutonium for World War II. Since plutonium production ended in 1989, the focus at Hanford has shifted to the cleanup of radioactive and chemically hazardous waste.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which updates an agreement first signed by the parties in 1997, is here: http://www.oregon.gov/energy/facilities-safety/safety/Documents/2017-04-12-MOU-with-DOE-on-Hanford.pdf
For more information about the Hanford site and Oregon’s work, please visit: