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Environment and Planning
00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d430000The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington was home to Native Americans and later to settlers. It turned into an top-secret military workhorse during World War II and the Cold War. Now, it’s one of the most pressing and complex environmental cleanup challenges humanity is facing in the world.This remote area in southeast Washington is where the federal government made plutonium for bombs during WWII and the Cold War. It’s now home to some of the most toxic contamination on earth, a witch’s brew of chemicals, radioactive waste and defunct structures. In central Hanford, leaking underground tanks full of radioactive sludge await a permanent solution. Meanwhile, a massive $12 billion waste treatment plant, designed to bind up that tank waste into more stable glass logs, has a troubled history.00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d440000Anna King is public radio's correspondent in Richland, Washington, covering the seemingly endless complexities of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Washington State Officials 'Extremely Disappointed' Over Key Hanford Deadlines

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Tobin Fricke
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Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/h99dl7h

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the state attorney general say they’re quote ‘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, 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 to 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 the massive, under-fire waste treatment plant project.