Energy Secretary coming to Hanford, McNary Dam

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry will be in Richland next week for a tour of Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Perry also will tour McNary Dam on the Columbia River near Umatilla.

He is expected to be joined by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Rick perry mug

Rick Perry was sworn in as secretary of energy in March 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery TNS

The former governor of Texas was sworn in as President Trump’s Energy Secretary on March 2, succeeding former Secretary Ernest Moniz. Perry clashed early on with Washington’s two Democratic Senators when he questioned if Hanford money is well spent during a subcommittee hearing.

Perry told the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee he wanted to use his experience managing big projects in Texas to ensure taxpayers get the best results for their money.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., responded that Hanford is a nuclear waste site. “It’s extremely dangerous,” she told Perry.

In June, he appeared at a Congressional hearing to defend the Trump administration’s proposed $3.5 billion cut to energy programs, which could have a significant impact on Hanford and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Perry begins his visit with a tour of the McNary Dam and Lock, operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, on Monday evening. He will come to Richland Tuesday for a tour of PNNL and the nearby HAMMER federal training facility.

Following an all-staff meeting at 12:30 p.m. at PNNL, he will tour the Hanford site, with stops planned at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, 2268 Building, WTP Facility and the troubled PUREX tunnels.

The PFP was the subject of a labor-led stop work order Thursday after the Washington Department of Health confirmed the presence of radioactive uranium and americum from samples collected after a June 7 incident that sent 350 workers indoors for shelter after radiation monitors alarmed.

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council and CH2M Plateau Remediation Co. met and agreed to expand the safety zone around demolition work so the dismantling project can proceed.

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