DOE to Spend $6B in Stimulus Funds Cleaning Former Nuclear Weapons Sites

DOE to Spend $6B in Stimulus Funds Cleaning Former Nuclear Weapons Sites

The Department of Energy will spend $6 billion in stimulus funds cleaning up Cold War era nuclear weapons sites in a dozen states.

Washington state will receive $1.96 billion, nearly a third of the funds, most of which will be spent on the demolition and remediation of the nuclear and support facilities at the Hanford site in Richland. In what is billed as the world's largest environmental cleanup project, the money will also be spent cleaning up groundwater and waste sites along the Columbia River to shrink the 586-square-mile cleanup site to 75-square miles or less by 2015. The plutonium production complex has nine nuclear reactors, 177 underground storage tanks with more than 50 million gallons of spent nuclear fuel.

South Carolina also will receive $1.6 billion to decommission nuclear facilities at the Savannah River Site, ship thousands of cubic meters of waste out of the state and cut the site’s industrial area by 40 percent.

The money is part of a wave of stimulus money flowing from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to both strengthen infrastructure in the U.S. and drive job creation. This month $3.2 billion was released in block grants for energy efficiency projects in cities, counties, states and Native American tribal land and the first chunk of almost $8 billion in weatherization and efficiency upgrades was sent to individual states.

Other sites that will receive stimulus money for nuclear weapons site cleanup efforts include:

• Tennessee, $755 million, Site: Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s East Tennessee Technology Park
•Idaho, $468 million, Site: Idaho National Laboratory
• New Mexico, $384 million, Sites: Los Alamos National Laboratory and Carlsbad
• New York: $148 million, Sites: Brookhaven and West Valley
• Ohio, $138 million, Sites: Miamisburg and Portsmouth
• Utah, $108 million, Site: Moab
• Illinois: $99 million, Site: Argonne National Laboratory
• Kentucky: $79 million, Site: Paducah
• California: $62 million, Sites: ETEC and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
• Nevada: $44 million, Site: Nevada test site

Additionally, several states will be reimbursed $69 million for cleanup costs paid by companies that used to process uranium or thorium for the government.