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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 06, 2003
USDOE Suspends Hanford Shipments at State's Request


Olympia - At the request of Attorney General Christine Gregoire, the U.S. Department of Justice today agreed to suspend further shipments of transuranic (TRU) waste to Hanford for 45 days.

The announcement follows the state's filing of a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane to halt further shipments of TRU waste until the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) complies with state and federal laws relating to the shipment and management of the radioactive waste.

The 45-day suspension will give the state and federal governments time to present arguments to the court on a preliminary injunction barring further shipments until the court decides the case. Arguments on the preliminary injunction are scheduled for April 18 in Yakima.

"I am pleased that the justice department has taken steps to prevent a bad situation from getting worse," Gregoire said. "Now the federal court will be able to review our claims without the added complication of more radioactive waste being shipped to Hanford from across the country."

USDOE has sent 40 drums of TRU waste to Hanford since December. A shipment scheduled to arrive at Hanford today from Ohio was delayed due to inclement weather. That shipment along with a shipment scheduled for mid-March will be suspended as a result of today's agreement.

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