Doubts, Costs Dog Hanford Nuclear Cleanup Plan
The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars cleaning up highly toxic plutonium waste in Hanford, Wash., where much of the fuel for the nation's nuclear weapons was produced throughout the Cold War.
Production stopped in the 1980s, but millions of gallons of radioactive waste remain in underground tanks -- though some of it has already leaked into the soil.
The centerpiece of the $5.7-billion cleanup project relies on vitrification -- binding the radioactive waste with glass to create solid waste that won't leach into the ground.
But the project -- massively over budget and behind schedule -- has ground to a halt. Some worry that the Department of Energy will give up on cleaning up the site completely.
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