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Radioactive contamination spreading in closed Hanford plant

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Radioactive Waste Cleanup Continues At Hanford Nuclear Reservation

A sign is seen as you enter the world's largest environmental cleanup project at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation June 30, 2005 near Richland, Washington.

RICHLAND, Wash. — Radioactive contamination is spreading inside a deteriorating processing plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The Tri-City Herald reports the facility is known as REDOX and hasn’t been used since the 1960s.

A new report recommends that $181 million be spent on interim cleanup and maintenance of the plant. REDOX is not scheduled to be demolished until about 2032, or possibly later.

The report says doing some work on the building soon could reduce the threat of contamination spreading outside the building, including by animals, a break in a utility pipe or a fire.

REDOX was used from 1952-1967 to process about 24,000 tons of irradiated uranium fuel rods to remove plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. It is highly contaminated.