"DOE: Budget Cuts May Slow Nuclear Waste Cleanup"

"Cleanup of radioactive waste at nuclear sites across the country — including one in Washington state where waste tanks may be leaking 1,000 gallons per year — would be delayed under automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday."

"Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the cuts would delay work at the department's highest-risk sites, including the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., where six tanks are leaking radioactive waste left over from decades of plutonium production for nuclear weapons.

It was not clear Thursday whether cleanup of the leaking tanks would be affected by the spending cuts. Overall cleanup efforts at Hanford — one of the nation's most contaminated sites — would be curtailed, Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow said."

Matthew Daly reports for the Associated Press February 28, 2013.

Source: AP, 03/01/2013