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High-risk demolition of former Hanford plutonium plant could resume

Demolition work on the most contaminated portions of the 1940s-era plant could resume as early as next week.

High-risk demolition of a former nuclear weapons production plant could resume next week, nearly two years after the most dangerous work was halted because of safety concerns.

Work on the most dangerous portions of demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was halted in December 2017 after particles of the radioactive substance contaminated workers and the environment. But lower risk demolition has continued.

Also see | Tests show Hanford workers inhaled radioactive plutonium

The Tri-City Herald reports that demolition work on the most contaminated portions of the 1940s-era plant could resume as early as next week.

The plant was part of the plutonium production process at Hanford, which is located near the Tri-Cities. Plutonium is a key ingredient in nuclear weapons and this factory produced about two-thirds of the nation's supply during the Cold War.

The state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have lifted the stop-work order they issued in 2017.

Also see | Settlement a 'historic victory' for Hanford workers