State, feds extend talks on Hanford cleanup

FILE -- In this March 23, 2004 file photo, workers at the tank farms on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., measure for radiation and the presence of toxic vapors. A nuclear safety board has warned a key U.S. senator that underground tanks holding radioactive waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion. Concerns that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks and lead to an explosion at south-central Washington state's Hanford Nuclear Reservation have been known for some time.(AP Photo/Jackie Johnston, File)
FILE -- In this March 23, 2004 file photo, workers at the tank farms on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., measure for radiation and the presence of toxic vapors. A nuclear safety board has warned a key U.S. senator that underground tanks holding radioactive waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion. Concerns that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks and lead to an explosion at south-central Washington state's Hanford Nuclear Reservation have been known for some time.(AP Photo/Jackie Johnston, File)

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — State and federal negotiators have agreed to extend their talks on the cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The dispute is over deadlines for removing radioactive waste from Hanford’s underground storage tanks. The U.S. Department of Energy says most of the remaining deadlines in a 2010 court settlement could be missed, and it wants the deadlines eliminated, allowing it to complete the work as it can.

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Washington state objects to that. The Tri-City Herald reports that a 40-day period for resolving disputes between the sides expired June 2, which allows either to request the involvement of a federal judge. Instead, the state and the feds agreed to extend their talks until June 27.

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