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Hanford Nuclear Site Update 10/2/2013

The Hanford Nuclear Site near Richland is home to 56 gallons of radioactive waste, being held in 177 separate holding tanks. But back in June, it was discovered that 7 of those tanks were leaking. Nearly four months later, cleanup of the site remains on hold due to budget cuts, delays and unclear plans of action.

The US Department of Energy is the top dog in the oversight of the Hanford cleanup. The Department released a proposal last week that lays a framework to fast track cleanup of the site.

Response has been mixed. One watchdog group, Hanford Challenge, has been keeping close tabs on government action with the site since 2008.

Tom Carpenter, Executive Director of Hanford Challenge, says his group is looking for more specific actions from the Department of Energy.

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The latest proposal from the Department of Energy centers around a phased approach: with finalizing building permits and testing remaining radioactive waste being phase 1; construction of pretreatment facility and further tank waste testing as phase 2- and the third and final phase being completion of the treatment facilities before full waste treatment is up and running.