FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2013
The New York Times, 11.28.13 -- "South Carolina Threatens Washington Over Cleanup"
By Matthew L. Wald
AIKEN, S.C. - The Energy Department began cleaning up an environmental nightmare at the old Savannah River Site nuclear weapons plant here in 1996 and promised a bright future: Within a quarter-century, officials said, they would turn liquid radioactive bomb waste into a solid that could not spill or dissolve.
But 17 years later, the department has slowed the work to a pace that makes completion of the cleanup by the projected date of 2023 highly unlikely. Energy officials now say the work will not be done until well into the 2040s, when the aging underground tanks that hold the bomb waste in the South Carolina lowlands will be 90 years old.
"I don't know what the tanks' design life was intended to be, but it's not for infinity," the state's chief environmental official, Catherine B. Templeton, said in an interview.
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