Columbia Riverkeeper



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Bingen, WA


This report analyzes the decision to limit the cleanup of the Hanford 300 Area to “Industrial Use” only. This decision raises legitimate concerns that providing such a minimal cleanup may be insufficient for protecting the Columbia River ecosystem and natural environment surrounding the Hanford site throughout the extraordinarily long life span of the hazardous waste. This report also provides a background on how the cleanup decision was made, the legal drivers, and an analysis of the risk assessment processes used in reaching the decision.

Given the multiple regulations, complex issues, and extensive technical data, it may be very difficult for the average person to get their arms around the progress of the current Hanford 300 Area cleanup. It can be even more difficult to understand just what process is used to determine what level of cleanup will be considered adequate. Regulations provide the legal framework to define and determine the various levels of cleanup, and the specific requirements for each level. These regulations however, like most other laws, are often considered open to a variety of interpretations. Choosing to focus on a narrow aspect of regulations while ignoring other key aspects can produce decisions that, in the end, defeat the “spirit” and intent of such regulations.

This report explains the relevant regulations, and discusses the decision to provide such a limited level of cleanup for the Hanford 300 Area. It will also identify the specific environmental health issues that are not covered by the quantitative risk assessment documents.

This research was completed money allocated during Round 2 of the Citizens’ Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund (MTA Fund). Clark University was named conservator of these works.

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Columbia Riverkeeper




nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons testing, environment, non-governmental organizations, United States Department of Energy, tribal governments, environmental cleanup, radioactive fallout, radioactive waste


Copyright belongs to the authors. Clark University was chosen by the non-profit peace and environmental groups as the conservator of these reports; our right to distribute these works ensures they remain available to the public in perpetuity as intended. Reuse at your own discretion with with due deference to copyright holders.

The Hanford 300 Area Cleanup Plan – Insufficient, Dangerous, and Against Best-Known Findings

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