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Sen. Murray Secures Additional Funding for Hanford Site Cleanup

Sen. Patty Murray secures $195.7 million in additional federal funding for nuclear waste cleanup at the Hanford Site along the Columbia River.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, secured $195.7 million in additional federal funding for nuclear waste cleanup at the Hanford Site, a 586-square-mile, mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex owned by the United States federal government on the Columbia River.

All told, the fiscal year 2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill includes $2.416 billion for high-risk cleanup projects along the Columbia River and on the Central Plateau, and for removing and treating radioactive tank waste. Murray sought successfully to restore funding for cleanup oversight and river protection.

At a hearing in June, Murray questioned Energy Secretary Rick Perry on how the administration could propose cuts and still be able to meet the federal government’s legally binding cleanup commitments to the State of Washington and communities neighboring the Hanford Site.

Sen. Patty Murray, Hanford Site

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

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“I’m very encouraged to see my Senate colleagues join me today in rejecting President Trump’s proposed budget, which was short-sighted and in no way reflected the true needs of the Hanford cleanup mission,” Murray said July 20 in an announcement of the funding’s inclusion in the bill. “I will continue to fight for investments in Hanford cleanup as long as it takes, because it is critically important the federal government makes good on its moral and legal obligation to workers and families in the Tri-Cities and across Washington state.”

On May 9 a 20-by-20 foot hole opened up into a storage tunnel that housed radioactive material left over from World War 2 as reported by ICMN on May 12. Though there were no injuries or radioactivity released into the environment a precautionary evacuation of several workers and about 3,000 employees were told to take cover inside, according to NPR. The hole had been filled in by May 11 according to the U.S. Department of Energy.