Issue Date: December 8, 2008
Washington Files Suit Over Hanford Cleanup
Washington State is suing the Department of Energy for failing to complete the cleanup of 53 million gal of highly toxic and radioactive waste in buried tanks at its former Hanford nuclear weapons site. State officials charge that DOE is out of compliance with key milestones in a 1989 cleanup order. They are asking the U.S. district court in Spokane to establish and enforce new deadlines for emptying 142 single-shell tanks and for treating the waste in all 177 underground tanks, many of which date back to the 1940s, when atomic-bomb-making began at the site. “We have been patient and reasonable in working with the federal agencies at Hanford,” Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) says. “Our patience has run out. The federal cleanup has been far too slow.” Under the Bush Administration’s most recent budget proposal, Gregoire says, “it would take 140 years to empty the worst of the remaining tanks” at the sprawling 586-sq-mile nuclear reservation. “That’s not only absurd, it’s unconscionable,” she says.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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