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URGENT:  Please attend one of the hearings below and tell the Department of Energy that we want Hanford Clean-up, Not Restart of the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) Reactor
Of the 177 huge underground tanks at Hanford, 69 are acknowledged to have failed so far, and to have leaked radioactive and chemically toxic solutions to the soils, where they have migrated to the groundwater which feeds the Columbia River. In spite of this and its promise to make clean-up the primary mission at Hanford, the Department of Energy is trying, instead, to re-start a reactor.
 
Your voice and support are needed now to shut down Hanford's Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) reactor! Please provide your public statement about the DOE's updated plans to restart this reactor even as the problem of dangerous radioactive wastes at Hanford worsens. If restarted, the FFTF would add new high-level radioactive waste streams at Hanford -- which today bears the infamous title of the most contaminated nuclear site in the western world.

The DOE's latest proposal would restart the FFTF reactor for a
three-fold mission: production of medical and industrial isotopes, a
broad range of other assignments under the umbrella of energy research and development, and the production of plutonium-238 to provide power for unmanned spacecraft. Yet these missions are either unnecessary, dangerous, or ill-suited to the FFTF reactor, which has been called 'a reactor in search of a mission'.  While medical isotopes are effective tools in cancer treatment, they are already available from existing facilities that - unlike the FFTF - have been designed for and are appropriate for isotope production. In addition, the DOE continues to pursue plutonium-238 production despite NASA's assertion that this production is not needed for its space program.

An emblem of a bygone era, the FFTF has diverted $1 million from
Hanford's cleanup budget over the years that it has remained on 'hot standby' pending an approved mission. Permanent shutdown of the FFTF is part of the 1989 Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) between the US Dept of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington State Dept of Ecology.

The Washington State Medical Association and the Washington Academy of Family Physicians are among the organizations that have expressed strong public opposition to restart of the FFTF.  Please tell the DOE to honor the Tri Party Agreement*, and shut down the FFTF once and for all. Ask them to do this for the public health of our communities throughout the Northwest, and so we may finally begin the tasks of reclaiming this contaminated environment and leaving a safer legacy for generations down the road.

You may also send written comments by September 11 to:

Colette E. Brown
US Department of Energy
NE-50
19901 Germantown Road
Germantown, MD  20874-1290

by fax: (toll-free):
1-877-562-4592

by phone (toll-free):
1-877-562-4593
 
The Tri Party Agreement* is an agreement between the US Dept. of Energy, the US EPA, and the WA State Dept. of Ecology to meet specific milestones in cleaning up and managing nuclear waste at Hanford.  Many of these milestones have been missed or pushed back, in part, because of insufficient funds.  Meanwhile funds have been diverted from cleanup to keep the FFTF on hot standby for years while a mission to justify re-start is sought.