Target: John J. Wiltshire, Hanford River Corridor and Site Infrastructure Team Lead
Goal: Support and ensure successful cleanup of the Hanford Site – an enormous area of nuclear contamination
The single largest nuclear contamination site in the United States is currently threatening to poison the nation’s seventh largest river. A nationwide cleanup effort is already underway, but the completion date is getting pushed back further and further as work progresses and new complications arise. Millions will be effected if the 270 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater irradiate the Columbia River bordering Oregon and Washington states, and we will be facing an environmental disaster of epic proportions. Tell John Wlitshire to take a hard stance on this hazardous waste site’s cleanup and make sure adequate funding is provided to avoid this scenario.
The Hanford Site is a nuclear production complex that was used to create plutonium for warheads during World War II and the Cold War. With approximately 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste left behind in old and leaky underground tanks, this problem does have the government’s attention. The plan is to repurpose one of the complex buildings into a waste refinement center and pump this toxic liquid out of the tanks and into the building.
This refinement center is being designed during construction and needs to run perfectly for 30 consecutive years in order to process the liquid waste into large glass rods that can be safely stored. Of the technical challenge presented by this project is highlighted in a statement by USA Today’s investigative reporter Peter Eisler: ”Imagine building a car where you welded the hood shut and expected that car to run for 100,000 miles and could never get in and touch the engine.”
The project is facing time pressure and increasing cost estimations, but it must be completed successfully. Any and all project expenses would be dwarfed by the amount of time and energy it would take to fix the problem of an irradiated Columbia River. Make sure John Wiltshire and the National Nuclear Security Administration see this project through.
Dear John Wiltshire,
The Hanford Site has for many years posed a serious threat to the people and environment surrounding it. Recent time pressure and climbing expenses have extended the completion date of the project numerous times. Because of these factors combined with the design-build strategy for the new liquid waste treatment building, speculation has arisen as to whether this project will be successfully completed.
The economic burden of this cleanup effort resides with the population of the entire country, but as River Corridor and Infrastructure Team Lead, a large part of the responsibility for this project resides with you. At present, Hanford cleanup is costing US citizens mere pennies per day. I hope you will not balk at requesting additional resources as necessary to ensure the accomplishment of all objectives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dimitar Krstevski via Flickr