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WASHINGTON — The Energy Department will spend $6 billion as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package to clean up nuclear weapons sites at Cold War-era facilities, with more than half the money going to sites in Washington and South Carolina, a senior official told Congress on Wednesday.
The government will focus on decontaminating and demolishing tainted facilities, removing radioactive waste and trying to restore soil and groundwater, Ines Triay, the department’s acting assistant secretary for environmental management, told a Senate Armed Services panel.
More than $1.9 billion will be spent on cleanup at the Hanford site, a former plutonium production complex on the Columbia River in southeastern Washington. The site produced plutonium used in the first nuclear bomb. The government said there are more than 53 million gallons of radioactive and chemically hazardous waste in 177 underground storage tanks there along with 2,300 tons of spent nuclear fuel and nine tons of plutonium.