The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford nuclear compound in Washington state is in the very early stages of planning to run a six-inch diameter natural gas pipeline under the Columbia River to supply a massive wastewater treatment plant during the next eight years. The 28.5-mile, $22 million project would be facilitated with the local utility Cascade Natural Gas Co., tying into its existing pipeline system on the Oregon side of the river and then connecting to the still-to-be-built water treatment facility. The plant was originally planned to operate with diesel, but the proposed pipeline would permit it to have dual fuel capability, operating mostly on natural gas, a Hanford facility spokesperson said. The gas line would provide more cost savings and environmental advantages, greatly reducing the proposed plant's greenhouse gas emissions. "The gas also can help support steam generation for [onsite] electricity and also heat for 11 different facilities," he said. Plans call for the pipeline to be permitted and built during the next four years, and the wastewater plant to begin operation in 2019, turning high-level waste into glass. "It's really a glass-making plant," the spokesperson said.

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