EPA Threatens Fines for Hanford Radioactive Waste Near Columbia River

by

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
  • U.S. Department of Energy
If the U.S. Department of Energy doesn't clean up stagnating radioactive waste right next to the Columbia River at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency intends to fine it $10,000 per week.

The Northwest News Network reports that there's a huge concrete swimming-pool-esque basin on the site at the K-West rector, which was closed in the early 1970s. Workers dumped hot irradiated rods in there until they cooled, and then were shipped off. But in the late 1980s, thousands of the rods were left behind.

The Department of Energy has been working to clean up the site for a long time, but the EPA isn't satisfied with the pace and says the department is way behind. The basin was supposed to be cleaned up in 2002, but the department says it didn't get enough funding from Congress to finish the job.

It has two weeks to start negotiations or face weekly fines until clean-up begins.