Congress approves money for Hanford nuclear cleanup

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The budget for the Hanford nuclear reservation for the current fiscal year will be nearly $128 million more than proposed by the Biden administration and about $25 million above the fiscal 2021 budget.

Congress approves money for Hanford nuclear cleanup

The U.S. Senate approved the budget last week as part of a massive spending bill for the fiscal year that began in October. The Tri-City Herald reports the spending package includes a record high amount of nearly $2.6 billion for maintenance and environmental cleanup of the site in Eastern Washington.

But even that amount falls shy of cleanup costs, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., pointed out in budget hearings. Congress would need to budget for than $11 billion a year for the next 57 years to complete Hanford cleanup, she said.

The 580-square-mile (1,502-square-kilometer) Hanford site, located along the Columbia River, produced almost two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War.

Hanford contains approximately 56 million gallons of radioactive waste stored in 177 underground tanks, representing one of DOE’s largest environmental risks and most complex challenges.