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Originally published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:27 AM

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Energy Secretary to visit Hanford site in Wash.

New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is set to make his first visit to the nation's most contaminated nuclear site since being confirmed by the Senate last month.

The Associated Press

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RICHLAND, Wash. —

New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is set to make his first visit to the nation's most contaminated nuclear site since being confirmed by the Senate last month.

Moniz vowed during his confirmation hearings to visit south-central Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation and to work to secure money to ensure cleanup is finished.

The Energy Department spends roughly $2 billion annually to clean up waste left from decades of plutonium production. That's roughly one-third of its budget for nuclear waste cleanup nationally.

But the department has faced increasing criticism in recent months amid rising costs and delays. The department notified Washington and Oregon that it may not meet two upcoming deadlines to empty some underground tanks of radioactive waste and to complete part of a plant to treat that waste.

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