03/08/2013 06:16 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2013

Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup Could Take Years

The cleanup of radioactive waste leaking from storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation could take years, according to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The Associated Press reports that Inslee plans to push for the federal government to pay for the cleanup, saying "every single dollar of it is justified."

Six tanks at the reservation were found to be oozing at a rate of about 1,000 gallons a year in February for an unknown length of time.

Inslee told NW News Network's Anna King that a proposed plan to empty the leaking tanks and ship three million gallons of low-level nuclear waste to New Mexico probably wouldn't begin for two to four years.

“I’m going to do everything humanly possible to move as quickly as humanly possible," he told King during a tour of the reservation on Wednesday, which holds 56 million gallons of toxic sludge.

Hanford's Office of River Protection is facing $92 million in cuts as the Department of Energy responds to federal budget slashing during the sequester. The cuts may result in furloughs or layoffs for 2,800 contract workers that could add further delays to the cleanup.



Hanford Nuclear Reservation