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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.

Energy Secretary Meets With Inslee On Hanford

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Office of the Governor
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met with Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Monday.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the U.S. Department of Energy is failing to provide him a “comprehensive” Hanford clean-up plan.

The Democrat's comments follow a face-to-face meeting with the Secretary of Energy who made a special trip to meet with the governor.

Governor Inslee says he appreciates Secretary Ernest Moniz’s visit to the Capitol to talk Hanford cleanup. But in a statement after the meeting Inslee said the Secretary’s draft cleanup plan lacks a “level of detail” the state of Washington is seeking.

Inslee says he will now consult with Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Washington Department of Ecology about next steps. That could include more legal action.

The feds are responsible for removing and treating 56 million gallons of hazardous and nuclear waste at the Cold War-era site in southeast Washington. Buried waste tanks are leaking and construction on a multi-billion dollar treatment plant is years delayed because of technical challenges.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."