Hanford officials have developed a road map for finishing the cleanup activities on the 220-square-mile River Corridor portion of the Site by the year 2015. Called the 2015 Vision, the cleanup projects extend along the shore of the Columbia River from north of Richland to the far boundary of the Site near Highway 240 and the Vernita Bridge. The work includes cleanup of the 300 Area (the manufacturing and laboratory parts of the Site) and the 100 Area (the reactors along the river).
The 2015 Vision reflects the desire shared between officials with the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington Department of Ecology to protect the Columbia River from Hanford contamination. As part of the plan, more than 235 facilities will be decommissioned, deactivated, decontaminated, and demolished. 300 waste sites will be remediated. More than 4.6 million tons of waste and debris will be sent to Hanford’s landfill, the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility.
Cleaning up these high priority facilities and burial grounds associated with the Vision will also mean that some adjacent, lower priority projects can be done at the same time. In doing so, Hanford’s cleanup dollars can go further, resulting in cleanup work being done more effectively and efficiently.
As projects are completed along the River Corridor, there won’t be as much of a need for utilities, roads to be maintained, or surveillance to be conducted in those areas. Put another way, it will free up money that can be used toward cleaning up other places at Hanford that are not associated with the River Corridor project.
When the River Corridor projects are cleaned up, workers can shift their attention to the Central Plateau region of Hanford. This part of the Site, consisting of the 200 East, 200 West, and 200 North Areas, is home to a majority of Hanford’s solid waste burial grounds and underground liquid waste storage tanks. It makes up about 75 square miles of the Site, which will be the last area of Hanford that will be cleaned up.