An Energy Department report shows the projected cost for long-term nuclear waste cleanup overseen by DOE jumped $100 billion in just one year.
By Laura Strickler
WASHINGTON — The estimated cost of cleaning up America’s nuclear waste has jumped more than $100 billion in just one year, according to a DOE report — and a watchdog warns the cost may climb still higher.
The Energy Department’s projected cost for cleanup jumped from $383.78 billion in 2017 to $493.96 billion in a financial report issued in December 2018.
Eighty percent of the increase comes from new projections of the costs of cleaning up radioactive waste and hazardous chemicals at the Hanford site in southeastern Washington.
The 586-square-mile site, home to nine former production reactors and processing facilities, produced plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.
Cleaning up Hanford has already cost taxpayers $170 billion over 30 years, but government auditors say the most challenging parts of the clean-up work are yet to be done.
Still not cleaned up are 56 million gallons of what the DOE’s inspector general has described as “hazardous and highly radioactive waste.”
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