Tri-Cities braces for less Hanford cleanup money in Obama budget

Feb 14, 2011

People with a direct stake in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be closely following President Obama's budget roll out. Money for cleaning up hazardous waste there is expected to be down.

These days in the Tri-Cities it's hard to get a seat at a restaurant. The boom-times here are partly created by one of the biggest single federal stimulus line items in the country - $1.9 billion to help clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Now, the flush times are likely coming to an end. Hanford supporters and critics alike expect a more sober budget for 2011 and 2012.

On the other hand, federal Department of Energy managers have to balance contractually-obligated timelines for clean-up. So spending will likely be focused on the environmental priorities already identified as the most pressing like cleaning up underground tanks filled with radioactive sludge.

Hanford managers are planning on a series of meetings throughout the Northwest in March to explain what the new budget means for cleanup.