Major construction done at Hanford waste treatment plant

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A gigantic nuclear waste treatment plant in eastern Washington state that has been under construction for 18 years is largely completed and soon will be ready to start processing radioactive wastes left over from the construction of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday that the so-called vitrification plant is a key component in cleaning up the legacy of wastes left at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation from decades of making plutonium for nuclear weapons. The $17 billion plant is designed to treat the bulk of the 56 million gallons of the most toxic radioactive waste stored in 177 underground tanks. Hanford produced about two-thirds of the nation’s plutonium from World War II through the Cold War.