RICHLAND – The U.S. Department of Energy has doubts that a massive nuclear waste treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can open by a 2022 deadline.
But the agency has not notified the state of Washington that legal deadlines for the project are at risk.
Instead, the Tri-City Herald reported the agency has directed contractor Bechtel National to improve its performance.
Bechtel is building the $17 billion plant intended to turn liquid nuclear wastes into glass-like logs for burial. The project has been plagued by safety and design issues.
Hanford is located near Richland and for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons. The site contains a huge volume of radioactive wastes.
Bechtel’s contract requires it to start treating radioactive waste by 2022. Construction on the plant started in 2002.
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