Sunday, September 23, 2007

Proposed Reservoir May Negatively Affect Groundwater at Hanford: Updated

The Yakima Herald-Republic has weighed in with a powerful editorial calling again for the Hanford cleanup to get moving.
"The possibility of a Black Rock reservoir indirectly helping push more radioactive material into the Columbia River is, of course, a concern that cannot be overlooked. On the other hand, shouldn't the overriding issue in that scenario be: When in the name of common sense and the environment is the most polluted nuclear site in the country ever going to be cleaned up?"

No matter what your views on the reservoir, and the Herald-Republic is a strong supporter, I think we can all agree that the Hanford cleanup is going way too slowly.

Bureau of Reclamation

"A technical report released [September 18th] by the Bureau of Reclamation presents findings of a water seepage study for the prospective Black Rock reservoir in Central Washington. The report estimates a range of volume and direction of seepage that might be expected if the Black Rock reservoir were to be constructed. The report is available online

The analysis released today indicates that a majority of seepage from the proposed Black Rock reservoir site would move in the direction of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The modeling is based on previous hydrogeologic studies of the Columbia Plateau and also incorporates results of recent geologic drilling and aquifer testing by Reclamation at the proposed dam site.

An earlier report prepared for Reclamation by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory described the effect that a rise in the water table at Hanford would have on certain contaminants buried in the sediment layer. This report is available at the same website.

Water seepage impacts and possible mitigation measures are currently being analyzed in the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study. A draft version of the feasibility study's planning report and EIS will be available for public comment in early 2008. "