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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.

Federal Court Decision Could Alter Cleanup Timelines At Hanford

Tobin Fricke
Wikimedia -
The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is home to 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge in aging underground tanks.

Federal courts may force the U.S. Department of Energy to adhere to new timelines to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington recently slapped down a 67-page document that says federal Hanford managers have missed key deadlines.

Washington state officials said the U.S. Department of Energy expresses a lot of good intentions, but then doesn’t follow through on a lot of cleanup action. The state wants to see specific timeline goals and deadlines enforced by the courts.

The complicated consent decree was struck back in 2010 and this would be the first time it has been changed.

Hanford is home to 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge in aging underground tanks.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.