In addition to providing oversight and permitting for cleanup at the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site, the Nuclear Waste Program provides oversight to the commercial Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility subleased by US Ecology Washington, Inc., French nuclear fuels fabricator AREVA NP, Inc., waste treatment facility Perma-Fix Northwest, and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
US Ecology, Inc., is a commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility located near the center of the Hanford Site on 100 acres of federal land leased to the State of Washington. It has been in operation since 1965.
Report to Legislature on US Ecology Commercial Low-Level Radioactive Waste Site Closure
The Washington State Legislature passed a budget proviso during the 2015 legislative session requiring the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health (Agencies) to work with the Yakama Nation to engage a third party to evaluate the specific technical concerns of the Yakama Nation regarding the cleanup and closure of the US Ecology Commercial Low-Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Site (US Ecology site), specifically the timing of the Phase I cover.
Model Toxics Control Act feasibility study
Under an Agreed Order, the state and facility operators share a mutual objective of implementing an investigation and determining remedial action at the facility due to a release or threatened release of hazardous substances. In October 2012, the Agreed Order was modified to extend the deadline for completing the feasibility study to 2013 (Letter 12-NWP-168 | Focus sheet: MTCA Study Deadline Extension).
The Department of Ecology also manages the Site Closure and Perpetual Care and Maintenance Funds.
MTCA study Remedial Investigation Report (Note: Ecology does not consider this document "final" until after the public comment period on the report.)
Validated Data from Model Toxics Control Act Investigation
Monitoring Data Site Investigation
AREVA NP, Inc., is a French-owned company in Richland, Washington. AREVA makes nuclear fuel assemblies for commercial nuclear reactors located all over the world. The plant employs about 600 people and has been in operation since 1972. The plant is operated under a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Ecology's role with the plant is to provide regulatory oversight of its temporary storage of mixed wastes that result from its operations. For more information see our permitting page.
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Perma-Fix Northwest is a waste treatment facility specializing in treating low-level and mixed low-level waste. The majority of the waste they treat is USDOE waste, primarily from Hanford. For more information see our permitting page.
Ecology has issued a permit for storage of mixed wastes at the Mixed Waste Storage Area at the U.S. Navy's Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, located in Bremerton, Washington.
Northwest Interstate Compact
In 1980, Congress enacted legislation authorizing states to form interstate compacts and develop new regional disposal facilities for low-level radioactive waste. The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 were the results of efforts by Washington, Nevada, and South Carolina, the three states with existing commercial low-level waste disposal facilities, to bring about a more equitable policy of low-level waste disposal across the nation.
In 1985, Congress ratified the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management. The guiding policy of the compact is the protection of the health and safety of the citizens through the cooperative effort of the party states, while providing for the economical management of low-level radioactive wastes within the compact region. Member states include Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
The Rocky Mountain Compact states, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, by an Arrangement can also use the commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.
The Department of Ecology provides staff resources in addition to chairing the Compact for the State of Washington.
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