Hatfield Predicts Closing of Aging Hanford Reactor

Associated Press

Sen. Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) predicted Friday that the Reagan Administration will close the aging N reactor at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state, but members of that state's congressional delegation said that no final decision has been reached.

Will Callicot, a spokesman for the Energy Department, said: "The budget process is still ongoing, and beyond that I can't comment."

The reactor, among four that have produced raw material for nuclear weapons, has been closed for $68 million of safety improvements prompted by the Soviet nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl.

A report last fall from the National Research Council raised questions about whether the reactor could be operated safety, but it made no recommendation.

Policy Set, Senator Says

Hatfield said at a news conference he is satisfied that a "policy has evolved that will lead to a permanent closing of the facility."

The senator said he was reluctant to go into detail. He said his comments were the result of "various and sundry inquiries" he made with top Administration officials.

But Rep. Sid Morrison (R-Wash.), whose district includes the Hanford reservation, said the Administration is a "long way away from making an announcement."

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