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Energy Secretary Nominee Fields Questions On Hanford


President Obama’s nominee for U.S. Energy Secretary says he’ll visit the Hanford Nuclear Reservation soon if he’s confirmed. 

Ernest Moniz faced senators Tuesday in his confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C. Moniz says lingering technical problems at the southeast Washington site were the first issues he was briefed on by current Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell asked Moniz whether he intends to adhere to the federal and Washington state timetable for Hanford cleanup deadlines known as the Tri-Party Agreement.

“The Tri-Party Agreement is an agreement that we have to strive to satisfy" Moniz replied. "I will also be straight forward in opening a discussion if I think there are challenges rooted in the science and technology.”

The Department of Energy, the EPA and Washington State renegotiated that agreement more than two years ago. And state officials worry that more delays in cleanup or budget cuts could be coming.

On the Web:

Video: Ernest Moniz confirmation hearing - C-SPAN

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.