"Feds Ready to Spend $2 Billion on Hanford Cleanup"

"RICHLAND, Wash. -- Federal contractors that were heavily fined for environmental and safety violations at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site will receive much of the $2 billion in economic stimulus money the government is spending on cleanup there.

Two contractors receiving much of the money -- Washington Closure Hanford and CH2M Hill -- have repeatedly been fined or had their pay reduced, but the companies are among the few contractors able to handle the specialized cleanup required at the Hanford nuclear reservation. They and the government say they have learned from past mistakes, and the stimulus money is for work they already do well.

Created in the 1940s, Hanford produced the plutonium for the first atomic blast .... Plutonium production continued through the Cold War.

The government already has spent 20 years and $30 billion on cleanup at Hanford. The Obama administration estimates the new spending will create or preserve up to 4,000 jobs...."

Shannon Dininny reports for the Associated Press May 28, 2009.

Source: AP, 05/28/2009