Cantwell Calls On Department Of Energy To Improve Safety Culture At Hanford

The cleanup at Hanford is an enormous taskā€”one that requires skilled, experienced, and dedicated leadership.

Watch Sen. Cantwell’s opening statement.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-WA) questioned Trump administration nominee, Anne Marie White, regarding the Department of Energy’s ability to improve and maintain worker safety at Hanford. If confirmed, Anne Marie White would be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Environmental Management which is currently responsible for cleaning up 16 nuclear weapons sites in 11 states.  

Hanford is unlike any other environmental cleanup operation in this country. The site was the proving ground for nuclear production reactors and for developing the first plutonium extraction process. This has left a legacy of a complex mix of chemicals and radioactive materials that our best minds are still figuring out technological solutions to remediate. 

During the hearing Senator Cantwell said, “If confirmed, you [Anne Marie White] will need to improve the safety culture at the site, ensure health and safety of our cleanup workers in addition to making sure that we have adequate funding, and keeping the cleanup effort on track to meet the cleanup milestones which the Department I know is committed to.”

“Our country owes a great deal of debt to those men and women at Hanford who helped our country in time of great national security. We owe it to them to make sure we get the cleanup process right,” said Senator Cantwell. “That’s why I want to make it clear to the Administration that we need a budget that doesn’t shortchange Hanford. Last year was cut by over $100 million dollars than what was acceptable.”

The video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement can be found here

Witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start of each hearing at on committee website.