Proposed process would remove a radioactive element from waste held in Hanford's underground tanks

RICHLAND, WA (AP) — A new report warns that a huge facility on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is at risk of releasing radioactive contamination into the environment the longer it remains standing.

The Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant was built in 1956 and is heavily contaminated after being used to help produce plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program.

A final decision on how to clean up and tear down the plant is not expected until about 2032.

The U.S. Department of Energy conducted a new evaluation of what to do in the meantime. It concluded the best option is to spend about $218 million to remove hazards, prepare the main processing building for demolition and demolish two attached annexes.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com

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