State, Federal Government Continue Talks Over Hanford Tank Cleanup

By Anna King

Washington State and the federal government just gave themselves a 40-day deadline. They need a clear cleanup plan for leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. If you think you’ve heard that before, it’s because you have.

This is the second 40-day deadline the state and the U.S. Department of Energy have given themselves. The last one expired the first week of this month -- with no cleanup plan in place. State and federal officials hope this second deadline will fair better. Hanford experts and a gaggle of lawyers from both sides plan to meet privately next week in the Seattle area. 

It’s all over how to clean up 56-million-gallons of radioactive waste stored in aging underground tanks at Hanford. The state of Washington says it wants the federal government to set and keep its cleanup deadlines, something that’s been lacking so far. 

The U.S. Department of Energy will only say talks with the state have been productive. Both sides are trying to avoid legal action that could further delay actual cleanup work at Hanford.

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