I became involved with Hanford in the summer of 1984, when I was selected staff director for the Joint Select Committee on Science and Technology of the Washington State Legislature. We had funding to advise the legislature on the potential selection of Hanford as the site for a national deep geologic repository, as well as for a review of the environmental impact of the US Ecology disposal site at Hanford. In 1987, I went to the Department of Ecology’s office dealing with Hanford (later the Nuclear Waste Program). I worked on a variety of issues and projects there, including the Hanford Dose Reconstruction Project and the creation of the Future Site Uses Working Group, the Tank Waste Task Force and the Hanford Advisory Board. At various times, I participated in the National Governors’ Association Federal Facilities Task Force, U.S. DOE’s State and Tribal Government Working Group, and the Western Interstate Energy Board’s High Level Radioactive Waste Committee.
I retired from the State of Washington in 2004. I moved to Oregon, and, in 2005, became a citizen member of Oregon’s Hanford Cleanup Board. I’ve been chair of the board for the last three years. I am also a neutral member of the Hanford Concerns Council, and of the steering committee for the Hanford Forum. In 2008, Washington State University Press published my book, America’s Nuclear Wastelands.
Three things about Hanford are most compelling to me:
- The important role of a wide range of citizens and interests, including local governments, Indian tribes, regional advocacy groups, and professional nuclear-related organizations, as well as state and federal agencies, in providing energy, impetus and priorities for moving cleanup along.
- The need to “close the circle”, to deal with the legacy of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War with the same creativity, dedication and sense of purpose that characterized those efforts.
- The natural legacy of Hanford—the relatively unspoiled shrub steppe habitat, the wildlife, the vistas, and the Hanford Reach itself.
I am probably best informed about some of the early history of the cleanup effort(s), the political and public process aspects of cleanup, the place of Hanford in the wider U.S. DOE defense production complex, and the various types of wastes, waste sites and cleanup practices at Hanford.
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