National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

THE HANFORD TANKS: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND POLICY CHOICES

Committee on Remediation of Buried and Tank Wastes

Board on Radioactive Waste Management

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.
1996

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

Support for this study on the Hanford Tanks was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, under Grant No. DE-FC01-94EW54069. All opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Energy.

Cover art by Brenda Spears

Additional copies of this report are available from:

Board on Radioactive Waste Management

2001 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.

Harris 456

Washington, DC 20007

202/334-3066

Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

COMMITTEE ON REMEDIATION OF BURIED AND TANK WASTES

THOMAS M. LESCHINE, Chair,

University of Washington, Seattle

DENISE BIERLEY,

Roy F. Weston, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico

ROBERT J. BUDNITZ*,

Future Resources Associates, Berkeley, California

THOMAS A. BURKE,

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

ROBERT J. CATLIN,

University of Texas (ret.), Houston

GREGORY CHOPPIN*,

Florida State University, Tallahassee

JAMES H. CLARKE,

Eckenfelder, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee

THOMAS A COTTON,

JK Research Associates, Inc., Vienna, Virginia

DONALD R. GIBSON, JR.*,

TRW Environmental Safety Systems, Vienna, Virginia

JAMES H. JOHNSON, JR.,

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

W. HUGH O'RIORDAN,

Givens, Pursley, & Huntley, Boise, Idaho

GLENN PAULSON,

Paulson and Cooper, Inc., Jackson Hole, Wyoming

BENJAMIN ROSS,

Disposal Safety Incorporated, Washington, D.C.

PAUL A. WITHERSPOON,

University of California, Berkeley

RAYMOND G. WYMER,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ret.), Tennessee

NCR Staff

ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Senior Staff Officer

DENNIS DUPREE, Senior Project Assistant

ANGELA TAYLOR, Project Assistant

Consultant

ALLEN CROFF,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee

*Committee member did not participate in this study

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

MICHAEL C. KAVANAUGH, Chair,

ENVIRON Corporation, Emeryville, California

B. JOHN GARRICK, Vice-Chair,

PLG, Incorporated, Newport Beach, California

JOHN F. AHEARNE,

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, and Duke University, Research Triangle Park and Durham, North Carolina

JEAN M. BAHR,

University of Wisconsin, Madison

SOL BURSTEIN,

Wisconsin Electric Power (ret.), Milwaukee

ANDREW P. CAPUTO,

Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C.

MELVIN W. CARTER,

Georgia Institute of Technology (emeritus), Atlanta

PAUL P. CRAIG,

University of California (emeritus), Davis

MARY R. ENGLISH,

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

ROBERT D. HATCHER, JR.,

University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville

DARLEANE C. HOFFMAN,

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California

JAMES H. JOHNSON, JR.,

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

CHARLES McCOMBIE,

National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, Wettingen, Switzerland

H. ROBERT MEYER,

Keystone Scientific, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado

PRISCILLA P. NELSON,

University of Texas, Austin

D. KIRK NORDSTROM,

U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colorado

D. WARNER NORTH,

Decision Focus, Incorporated, Mountain View, California

PAUL SLOVIC,

Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon

BENJAMIN L. SMITH, Independent Consultant,

Columbia, Tennessee

NCR Staff

KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Director

ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Senior Staff Officer

KARYANIL T. THOMAS, Senior Staff Officer

THOMAS KIESS, Staff Officer

SUSAN B. MOCKLER, Research Associate

LISA J. CLENDENING, Administrative Assistant

ROBIN L. ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant

REBECCA BURKA, Senior Project Assistant

DENNIS L. DUPREE, Senior Project Assistant

PATRICIA A. JONES, Project Assistant

ANGELA TAYLOR, Project Assistant

ERIKA L. WILLIAMS, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES

M. GORDON WOLMAN, Chairman,

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

PATRICK R. ATKINS,

Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

JAMES P. BRUCE,

Canadian Climate Program Board, Ottawa, Ontario

WILLIAM L. FISHER,

University of Texas, Austin

JERRY F. FRANKLIN,

University of Washington, Seattle

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

DEBRA KNOPMAN,

Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C.

PERRY L. McCARTY,

Stanford University, California

JUDITH E. McDOWELL,

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

S. GEORGE PHILANDER,

Princeton University, New Jersey

RAYMOND A. PRICE,

Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario

THOMAS C. SCHELLING,

University of Maryland, College Park

ELLEN SILBERGELD,

University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore

STEVEN M. STANLEY,

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL,

Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida

NRC Staff

STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director

STEPHEN D. PARKER Associate Executive Director

MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Executive Director

GREGORY SYMMES, Reports Officer

JAMES MALLORY, Administrative Officer

SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

SUSAN SHERWIN, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
×

PREFACE

The study described in this report was prepared at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Waste Management by the Committee on Remediation of Buried and Tank Wastes. The committee has gained a considerable amount of background information on the Hanford Site high-level radioactive waste tanks over the past 4 years of its tenure. We extend our thanks to the many representatives of the Department and its contractors, both from its Washington, D.C., headquarters and from its Richland, Washington, office, who provided timely information, including extensive documentation. We also thank Allen Croft; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a member of the National Research Council Subcommittee on Tank Wastes of the Committee on Environmental Management Technologies, who assisted in the analysis and contributed to the preparation of this report.

Thomas M. Leschine

Chairman

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
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LIST OF TABLES

 1.

 

Summary of Remediation Alternatives for Hanford Waste Tanks and Capsules

 

17

 2.

 

Isotopic Composition of Hanford Reservation Cesium Capsules

 

41

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1996. The Hanford Tanks: Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5403.
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The Hanford Site (also known as the Hanford Reservation) occupies approximately 1,450 km2 (560 square miles) along the Columbia River in south-central Washington, north of the city of Richland. The site was established by the federal government in 1943 to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Currently, the mission of the site, under the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is management of wastes generated by the weapons program and remediation of the environment contaminated by that waste. As part of that mission, DOE and the State of Washington Department of Ecology prepared the Hanford Site Tank Waste Remediation System Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The Hanford Tanks is a general review of the DEIS. Its findings and recommendations are the subject of this report. Selection of a disposition plan for these wastes is a decision of national importance, involving potential environmental and health risks, technical challenges, and costs of tens to hundreds of billions of dollars. The last comprehensive analysis of these issues was completed 10 years ago, and several major changes in plans have occurred since. Therefore, the current reevaluation is timely and prudent. This report endorses the decision to prepare this new environmental impact statement, and in particular the decision to evaluate a wide range of alternatives not restricted to those encouraged by current regulatory policies.

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