An agreement struck this week between the U.S. Department of Energy and Washington state will restore the original timeline and budget for the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Following technological delays under former President Clinton and proposed budget cuts by the Bush administration, the cleanup date was pushed back from between 2025 and 2035 to 2070. In addition to agreeing to the original dates, the White House also restored $300 million it had cut from the cleanup budget and provided an additional $150 million this year, bringing the total Hanford budget for next year to more than $2 billion. The cleanup plan, which still must be approved by Congress, will tackle the problem of the more than 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste stored in underground tanks near the banks of the Columbia River.

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