Environment News Service

ENERGY DEPARTMENT PROMISES FASTER CLEANUP AT FOUR SITES

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has signed agreements with governors from four states to expedite cleanup at the states’ DOE weapons sites. Colorado Governor Bill Owens, South Carolina Governor James Hodges, Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist and Washington Governor Gary Locke each signed a Statement of Principles that sets target dates for cleanup and closure of nuclear weapons sites. "We are beginning a new era of cooperation between the Department of Energy and the states to clean up the lingering legacy of the Cold War," said Richardson. "These principles embody a partnership that is focused on protecting the public and the vast natural resources that our sites represent."

The DOE committed to cooperating to expedite cleanup, protect groundwater and obtain Congressional funding to cover cleanup costs. The projects targeted by the agreements are cleanup and redevelopment of the Rocky Flats plant near Denver by 2006; redeveloping the Savannah River site in South Carolina; determining how to dispose of waste at Tennessee's Oak Ridge site, including a study of incineration options; and continuing cleanup and redevelopment at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington. So far, Congress has not committed funds to these projects, estimated to cost about $147 billion.

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