Tuesday, October 16News That Matters

Trump's budget: More nuclear bombs, less nuclear cleanup

In January, the state of Washington wrote to the Department of Energy to let them know how worried they were about radiation levels at the heavily contaminated Hanford Site. The letter let the DOE notes that far from dropping, radiation levels around the plant, and dangers to workers, were increasing.

Since [December], more than 270 workers concerned about their health have requested bioassays to test for radioactive exposure. Results released so far have covered 109 workers and found that two tested positive for having inhaled or ingested radioactive particles.

Clearly the letter had an impact, because the new Trump budget goes out of its way to address the long-critical problems at Hanford.

The Trump administration is proposing a $230 million cut in cleanup spending at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in fiscal 2019.

The budget request released on Monday cuts $61 million from the budget for Hanford’s Office of River Protection, and $169 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office.

Subjecting Washington to extra radiation is, of course, right in line with the cuts Trump’s already made, or intends to make, to environmental programs of all kinds, But it might seem that Hanford—which was for years the source of plutonium used in America’s nuclear arsenal—might get a little extra attention from the guy who wants to spend over $1 trillion dollars on new bombs.