State of Washington opposes nuke waste proposal

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The state of Washington opposes a federal proposal to reclassify some radioactive waste on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Washington.

State officials said Tuesday they fear the change will allow the federal government to walk away from its obligation to clean up millions of gallons of radioactive waste.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants to change the classification of some radioactive waste at Hanford from high-level to low-level. Gov. Jay Inslee calls the proposal unacceptable.

Critics say that reclassifying the waste could save the government billions of dollars and decades of work by essentially leaving the material in the ground.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons. Much of the waste is stored in 177 huge underground tanks, some of which have leaked.