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Trump proposes $120M cut to Hanford cleanup budget despite recent incidents

This picture shows a 20 foot by 20 foot hole in the roof of a tunnel that is hundreds of feet long. Surveys of the area show no indication of release of contamination as a result of the cave-in. (Photo credit: Hanford Site)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes a cut of about $120 million for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, despite two recent incidents that raised concerned about worker safety at the former nuclear weapons production site.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and now is engaged in a massive environmental cleanup that costs more than $2 billion per year.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington called the budget proposal, which must still clear Congress, a disappointment.

The federal government has a legal agreement with the state of Washington that sets deadlines for the complicated cleanup efforts.

In the past two weeks, Hanford saw the partial collapse of a tunnel that contains nuclear waste, and a possible new leak from one of the huge double-walled storage tanks built in the 1970s.