Washington State: Extremely Disappointed Federal Government Will Miss Hanford Cleanup Deadlines

By Anna King

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the state attorney general say they’re "extremely disappointed" that the U.S. Department of Energy may miss several key deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The two milestones that may be missed are: completing waste retrieval from two of Hanford’s aging single-shell tanks and finishing up construction on the Low Activity Waste Facility. That’s one of the key parts of Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant. The tanks were to be done in September and the waste facility was supposed to be done by the end of next year. The Department of Energy signed a renegotiated cleanup timeline just in 2010 in federal court with the State of Washington and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

These further delays pile onto other checklist items that are also in jeopardy of going into overtime. Inslee says the federal government has yet to provide justification for these delays or propose a new path forward. The new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz called Inslee Thursday to discuss these delays. The federal nuclear site has been under intense scrutiny lately with several leaking tanks of radioactive waste and a massive under-fire waste treatment plant project.

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