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Massive Hanford waste dump reaches 15 million-ton mark

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Crews at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say have cleaned up 15 million tons of radioactive soil and debris from near the Columbia River, managers announced on Tuesday.  

The debris has gone to a massive dump at the center of the site. The Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, called ERDF for short, is the size of 52 football fields.

As a ceremonial load of soil marked 15 million tons of waste disposed, dozens of truck horns blared in response. 

“It prevents the contamination from reaching the environment in the future,” said Matt McCormick, a top Department of Energy manager at Hanford. “We eventually will put a barrier on top of EARF to further isolate the waste.”

Meanwhile, there’s a delay in efforts to ship some radioactive tank waste from Hanford to a federal site in New Mexico. State officials there want more hearings.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.