February 22, 2005

Crapo and Murray Start Nuclear Education Briefings

INEEL to be featured on March 27; Hanford on March 6 & 20

Washington, DC â?? The Senate Nuclear Cleanup Caucus, co-chaired by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Washington Senator Patty Murray, is sponsoring a round of educational briefings on Capitol Hill, aimed at providing Members, congressional staff and others with information on the Department of Energy (DOE) environmental management program and its progress. The briefings will focus each week on a different lab or site within the DOE. Managers and officials from each site will be on hand to provide an overview of what is happening at their lab or site and plans for accelerating cleanup.Today, at over 100 sites across the country, DOEâ??s Environmental Management program is responsible for storing, treating, or remediating 1.7 trillion gallons of contaminated groundwater, 40 million cubic meters of contaminated soil and debris, 18 metric tons of weapons-usable plutonium, over 2,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel, and over 100 million gallons of high-level liquid waste. It is estimated that this massive cleanup effort will continue for the next 70 years.Crapo said, â??Each year, Congress funds nearly $7 billion for environmental management programs throughout the country. This year, the Presidentâ??s budget request of $7.2 billion is the largest ever for this program. Itâ??s important that Senators and Representatives have a full opportunity to learn how the government is working on one of the most serious environmental problems confronting our nation. These briefings are designed to give them firsthand information on each lab dealing with nuclear waste cleanup.â??Murray said, â??The issues involved at these sites are extremely complex. In many instances, we are trying to address sixty years of nuclear legacy. The task is daunting but achievable, and the briefings help us and our colleagues understand the scope of the challenges we face.â??All briefings start at 9 a.m. Eastern, and except where noted, will take place in HC-8 of the Capitol. This is the 9th annual series of cleanup briefings. The schedule for this yearâ??s briefings is as follows:March 6Office of River ProtectionMarch 13Carlsbad/WIPP and Los Alamos National LaboratoryMarch 20Hanford, Washington (SC-6 Capitol)March 27Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (SC-6 Capitol)April 3Savannah River, South CarolinaApril 10Rocky Flats, ColoradoMay 1Oak Ridge, TennesseeMay 8Ohio Office (B-369 RHOB)May 14Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky sites (2105 RHOB)May 22National FOCUS Projects (Small Sites Closure)The creation of the bi-partisan House and Senate Nuclear Waste Cleanup Caucuses has strengthened congressional commitment to properly funding cleanup efforts and to ensure that the Administration and Members of Congress fully understand the importance of meeting federal obligations to states and local communities to cleanup DOE sites across the country. The House and Senate caucuses have played an important role educating decision-makers about such issues. The caucus also focuses attention on the challenges faced as we strive to protect public health and the environment and address the nuclear contamination and wastes resulting from activities related to World War II and the Cold War. # # #