PHOENIX Tool Aids Public Involvement

The Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently presented a public web application that allows you to explore Hanford site environmental data. PHOENIX is an acronym that stands for PNNL-Hanford Online Environmental Information Exchange. A groundwater tool has been available for a few years, but now you can explore the content and conditions of the tanks as well. The tool presents maps, graphs, and detailed information that allows the user to look at data and come to their own conclusions.

Types of Information you can access in the Tank Edition:

  • In-tank sensor data
  • Tank waste volume data
  • Tank waste phases
  • Tank waste chemical and radionuclide inventory
  • Vadose zone gamma logs
  • Groundwater contaminant concentration data
  • Waste transfer history
  • Temperature readings
  • Leak status

There are limitations. Not all of the information is available, and the accuracy of some data has been historically disputed by tribal nations such as Nez Perce. The Office of River Protection announced that they are continuing to develop the app. However, disputes over the data have yet to be fully investigated.

Screenshot of PHOENIX application in action
Screenshot of PHOENIX application in action
Screenshot of PHOENIX application in action
Screenshot of PHOENIX application in action

What does all of this mean? It means that you can look at the waste levels, determine what is liquid or sludge, measure temperatures, check on the history of leaks and track the movement of groundwater. There are other useful features too, like the ability to look up work orders that have been requested – indicating the conditions of some equipment. The tools allow you to visually explore the Hanford site, investigate data points, and inform your own reporting. This type of accessibility opens the door for more public interest groups or individuals to engage in meaningful analysis and hold agencies accountable to cleanup needs.

The PHOENIX applications open up possibilities for students and advocates to be more involved in cleanup efforts at the Hanford site. If you would like to learn more about how the tool can be used to strengthen your work, email us at We would love to connect you to experts through our Inheriting Hanford program.

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