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New USA Energy Secretary must commit to cleanup of Hanford radioactive pollution

wastesSen. Wyden wants nuclear cleanup commitment from next Energy Flag-USAsecretary THE HILL, By Zack Colman- 02/20/13 The Senate Energy Committee chairman said Tuesday that any Energy secretary nominee must agree to clean up high-level nuclear waste at a Washington facility to get his support.

Leaks reported last week at the Hanford nuclear reservation require immediate attention, Energy Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said. He also expressed concern that a waste treatment plant is behind schedule and over budget.

As Energy Committee Chairman, Wyden will oversee the confirmation hearing for outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s replacement. He said he would ask nominees to commit to treating and disposing of waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

“This should represent an unacceptable threat to the Pacific Northwest for everybody,” Wyden said after touring the site, according to The Associated Press. “There are problems that have to be solved, and right now the Department of Energy cannot say what changes are needed, when they will be completed and what they will cost.”

DOE manages the nation’s waste from nuclear weapons and energy research. Of its $6 billion annual cleanup budget, it spends $2 billion on maintaining Hanford, which straddles Oregon’s border along the Columbia River.

Wyden said he would hold a hearing on the Hanford situation, though he did not offer a specific date.

The attention to Hanford — with which Wyden has a long history — comes as the chairman and three other senators are hammering out legislation on nuclear waste management. ….


February 21, 2013 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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