Hanford officials move nuclear waste from Columbia River

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington have removed the last of the highly radioactive sludge stored in underwater containers near the Columbia River.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the project came in ahead of schedule and under budget after 10 years of work. Perry plans to visit Hanford October 1st for a ceremony marking the milestone.

Hanford was established during World War II to make plutonium, and tanks at the site near Richland hold 60 percent of the nation’s most dangerous radioactive waste left over from nuclear weapons production. Most of the waste is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, some of which have leaked.

Cleanup efforts at Hanford have been underway since the late 1980s and cost more than $2 billion a year.

The work at Hanford is expected to continue for more than half a century, including treating the waste stored in the underground tanks for disposal.  (AP)