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Update: Nuclear Waste Site Still at Risk

The site's aging infrastructure is on the verge of breakdown.

Recently, we reported on an accident at the Hanford nuclear site where a portion of a tunnel that contains rail cars full of nuclear waste collapsed.

Now, Doug Shoop, who runs the department's operations office at Hanford, has told the AP that the Hanford site is still at risk for more accidents because its aging infrastructure is on the verge of breakdown.

Shoop also cites a lack of funding for a swift cleanup, despite an annual budget for the site of $2.3 billion. He says that what’s actually needed is more like $100 billion to clean up the highly toxic radioactive and chemical wastes on the 580-square mile site – and that, at this rate, it’s going to take another 50 years to finish the job.

About half of the site has been cleaned up in the efforts since 1989, but Hanford's most dangerous contaminated waste has not been cleaned up, and the AP says recent incidents there have illustrated problems that could become more frequent in the future.

The Hanford site is actually facing a $120 million cut in next year’s budget, and local administrators are none too happy. Washington state legislator Gerry Pollet told the AP, rather ominously, that "Every year that we don't have an earthquake ... has been just luck."

From the IEN Studios, that’s your take two with Anna Wells. 

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