Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy visits Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington on Wednesday. Among the issues he will have to deal with are the leaking underground tanks of radioactive waste and the troubled waste treatment plant.
From his resume, it appears Moniz isn’t short on brainpower. He’s been on the faculty of MIT since 1973. Secretary Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.
He’s outlined his priorities as responding to climate change, safely managing the nation’s nuclear stockpile and fostering scientific research. But during his confirmation hearings legislators urged him to come look at Hanford.
Moniz has a lot to see and understand at Hanford. There’s the technical issues with the Waste Treatment Plant. His predecessor Steven Chu examined the factory in detail, but never released a public report. And then, there are the seven leaking tanks of radioactive waste – and little place to shuffle the sludge.