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July 19, 2022
Event: Public Comment Period for the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility
Category: Comment Period / Feedback Opportunity
Event Date: July 6 - Sept. 4, 2022

This is a message from the U.S. Department of Energy

Public Comment Period on Proposed Changes to the Hanford Dangerous Waste Permit

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is holding a 60-day public comment period on a proposed Class 2 modification to the Hanford Dangerous Waste Permit for the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF).

The WESF is in the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site. The facility houses 1,936 radioactive cesium and strontium capsules stored in an underwater basin. While the capsules are currently in safe storage in the basin, work is underway to install a system in WESF to transfer the capsules from the basin into engineered dry casks, and then transport them to a nearby concrete pad for safe interim storage. Moving the capsules to dry storage not only eliminates a longer-term risk of a radioactive release in the unlikely event of a loss of water from the basin, but also will enable the planned deactivation of the aging WESF building and save as much as $6 million in annual operating costs.

Transfer of the capsules to the dry casks will go through G Cell, a radioactive hot cell inside WESF. The DOE and contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company are requesting the permit modification to increase the storage capacity of G Cell from nine to 14 capsules. This modification supports the move to dry storage by providing WESF more flexibility to safely manage the capsules during the transfer process. Other proposed changes include updating permit Addendum G, "Training," to add a facility personnel position.

See this animation to learn more about the capsule transfer process.

The comment period runs from July 6 through Sept. 4, 2022. A public meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 16 at the Richland Public Library, 955 Northgate Drive. The meeting will include a virtual option to allow participants to view the presentation, hear the speakers and ask questions. To participate via Microsoft Teams, please follow the instructions below:

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting

Join with a video conferencing device
Video Conference ID: 114 870 754 6

Or call in (audio only)
+1 509-931-1284 United States, Spokane
(833) 633-0875 United States (Toll-free)
Phone Conference ID: 512 778 719#

Please submit any comments by Sept. 4, electronically (preferred) or by mail to:

Washington State Department of Ecology
3100 Port of Benton Boulevard
Richland, WA 99354

The proposed modification and supporting documentation will be available online during the public comment period on the Hanford events calendar, the Hanford Administrative Record, and at the Hanford Public Information Repositories.

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Colborn, DOE, at, or Daina McFadden, Washington State Department of Ecology, at

To request disability accommodation, please contact Jennifer Colborn at or (509) 376-5840 at least 10 working days prior to the event. DOE makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests.

Fact Sheet
Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility Class 2 Permit Modification Public Meeting 8-16-2022

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