From: Associated Press
Published July 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Washington State Seeks to Bar More Waste from Hanford Nuclear Site

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington state is appealing a ruling that struck down a voter-approved initiative barring the federal government from accepting more radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear site.

U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald ruled last month that the initiative was unconstitutional. It would bar the government from accepting more nuclear waste at Hanford until what's already there has been cleaned up.

State attorneys filed a notice of appeal Wednesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

"We are not content to let this decision rest with a single district court judge," Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a statement.

The judge ruled that the initiative is unconstitutional because it violates federal authority over nuclear waste, as well as the Constitution's interstate commerce clause.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative in 2004. The federal government immediately sued to overturn it.

Hanford was built in the 1940s as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. It produced plutonium for the nation's nuclear arsenal for 40 years.

Today, it is the nation's most contaminated nuclear site. Cleanup costs are expected to total as much as $60 billion, with the work to be finished by 2035.

Source: Associated Press

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