Energy Department Accused of Violating Hazardous-Waste Law in Washington Stateby Associated Press
Environmental News Network, May 1, 2003
YAKIMA, Wash. -- The Energy Department is violating state law by failing to properly manage radioactive waste in unlined trenches at the Hanford nuclear reservation, state regulators said Wednesday.
The state Department of Ecology accused the Energy Department of failing to identify the waste, store it properly, treat it for stabilization, and respond to known leaks.
The waste poses an "imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and environment," state officials said.
The 586-square-mile Hanford reservation was established to make plutonium as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb during World War II. It produced plutonium for the nation's nuclear arsenal for more than 40 years.
The order is part of the state's continuing fight with the government to force it to say when and how it will clean up 75,000 barrels of plutonium-contaminated trash and low-level radioactive waste generated at Hanford since 1970.
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