AG says DOE should not get more time to empty Hanford tanks

Hanford in Eastern Washington
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RICHLAND, Wash. - State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the U.S. Department of Energy should not get more time to empty the next group of Hanford nuclear waste tanks.

Earlier this month, the Energy Department proposed extending deadlines for retrieving radioactive waste from nine leak-prone tanks for one year, giving it until fall 2023 to complete the work.

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The agency says the delay is needed because requiring air respirators for most workers as protection against chemical vapors reduces efficiency by 30 to 70 percent.

The Tri-City Herald reports that Ferguson said Monday the Energy Department must meet agreed-upon timelines for Hanford cleanup.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons and is now is engaged in cleaning up the nation's largest collection of nuclear waste.