Federal Budget Cuts Could Affect Nuclear Clean Up
WASHINGTON (AP) — Here’s something else the upcoming spending cuts will affect: The cleanup of radioactive waste at nuclear sites, including one in Washington state where waste tanks may be leaking 1,000 gallons per year. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says cuts set to start taking effect Friday would delay work at the Energy Department’s highest-risk sites.
That includes the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, where six tanks are leaking radioactive waste left over from decades of plutonium production for nuclear weapons. Other high-risk sites facing work delays are in Tennessee, South Carolina and Idaho. The department is facing an estimated $1.9 billion in spending cuts, including $900 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration. That agency is responsible for maintaining and securing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.