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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Trump plan to reclassify nuke waste alarms environmentalists

In this May 9, 2017,  photo, signs are posted at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County in Richland, Wash. The U.S. Justice Department is accusing Lockheed Martin Corp. of using false records and making false statements to bill the Energy Department for tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized profits and fees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. (Manuel Valdes / AP)
In this May 9, 2017, photo, signs are posted at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County in Richland, Wash. The U.S. Justice Department is accusing Lockheed Martin Corp. of using false records and making false statements to bill the Energy Department for tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized profits and fees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. (Manuel Valdes / AP)
By Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press

RICHLAND – The Trump administration has proposed reclassifying some radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons to make disposal cheaper and easier.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants a change in its legal definition of high-level radioactive waste stored at places such as Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state – the most contaminated nuclear site in the country.

Reclassifying waste as low-level could save the agency billions of dollars and decades of cleanup work. Critics say that’s because much of the waste essentially could be left in the ground.

Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge, a nuclear watchdog group, said it wants a thorough cleanup of the site, which is half the size of Rhode Island.

That includes building a national repository somewhere else to bury the waste once it has been stabilized.

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