The federal government and the state of Washington announced Monday that they had reached a landmark agreement on the cleanup of the nation’s biggest and oldest radioactive waste site, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington.
The agreement will commit the Energy Department to seek $2.8 billion over the next five years for the cleanup. In establishing a timetable for the cleanup and funding levels for the first five years of the 30-year plan, the agreement avoids what would have been a long and costly court battle between the federal government and Washington state.
Under the agreement, the Energy Department is required to seek $2.8 billion over the next five years for the cleanup. But that obligation does not extend to the Office of Management and Budget, which prepares the President’s budget proposal to Congress. And there is no guarantee that Congress will appropriate the money called for in the plan.
The cleanup involves the removal of millions of gallons of high-level radioactive waste stored since the 1940s.