U.S. Water News Online
YAKIMA, Wash. -- The Yakama Nation has asked that much of
the Hanford nuclear reservation's Columbia River corridor be included
in the nation's lawsuit accusing the U.S. Department of Energy of
failing to protect the river from pollution.
The tribe's initial lawsuit focused on a small portion of the
Hanford reservation. The motion filed in U.S. District Court seeks to
add areas where nuclear reactors and a fabrication facility were
All three zones are listed under the federal Superfund cleanup
program for hazardous sites, but the Superfund listing did not
include the river itself.
The Yakamas contend DOE has inadequately met its legal requirement
to restore fish runs affected by the nuclear operations.
``There's been a lot of talk and not a lot of action, virtually
none in fact,'' Yakama Nation attorney Tom Zeilman said.
An Energy Department representative in the Tri-Cities referred all
questions about the case to the agency's Washington, D.C.,
headquarters, where a spokesman was not immediately available.
The tribe contends that river water used to cool
plutonium-producing reactors at Hanford and then returned to the
river polluted it with radioactive material and other dangerous
substances from the 1940s until the 1960s.
Some of these radioactive materials remain in river sediment, the
Earlier statements from the tribal council blamed the Hanford
chemicals and metals for substantial declines in Columbia salmon
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