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Energy Secretary: Communication At Hanford Tank Farms Needs Improvement


U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the Tri-Cities this week to look at projects at the Pacific Northwest National Lab and Hanford. Moniz says workers and tank farm managers need better communication to keep workers safe.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the Tri-Cities this week to look at projects at the Pacific Northwest National Lab and Hanford. Moniz says workers and tank farm managers need better communication to keep workers safe.

Northwest News Network, Anna King

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said workers at Hanford tank farms who say radioactive waste is making them sick need to be heard.

In June, Moniz commissioned an independent study of how things are going at Hanford’s tank farms. That team just collected the last of their data. They interviewed workers and looked at vapor sampling data and worker safety programs.

Moniz said there is one takeaway already: tank farm workers closest to the work should be better heard.

“And so we need to get that management-worker communication frankly improved,” he said.

Moniz told reporters he intends to make all that collected data and Energy’s conclusions public — although we don’t know when.

Workers at the tank farms keep stopping work saying they are smelling harmful vapors that make them sick.

Hanford’s tank farms hold millions of gallons of radioactive sludge in underground tanks the size of a house. The tanks were built largely during World War II and the Cold War.

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