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US Audit Faults Quality Controls in Cleanup of US Hanford Nuclear Fuel Plant

© AP Photo / Ted S. WarrenFILE - In this July 9, 2014, file photo, workers wearing protective clothing and footwear inspect a valve at the "C" tank farm during a media tour of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation Wednesday, July 9, 2014 near Richland, Wash
FILE - In this July 9, 2014, file photo, workers wearing protective clothing and footwear inspect a valve at the C tank farm during a media tour of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation Wednesday, July 9, 2014 near Richland, Wash - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A massive project to clean up a nuclear place at the Hanford reactor site in the US state of Washington has failed to correct engineering and construction deficiencies, the General Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report on Tuesday.

"We found that DOE's [Department of Energy] quality assurance efforts did not always ensure detection of problems such as engineering errors and construction deficiencies, and some problems are recurring," the report said.

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The report recommended that DOE direct the private contractor to halt work when problems are discovered and also to upgrade quality control efforts.

Reactors at the Hanford site produced plutonium used in US nuclear weapons until the late 1980s, when one of the world’s largest operations to clean up radioactive byproducts began, according to the DOE.

By today’s standards, the Plutonium-making process was extremely "inefficient" in that a massive amount of liquid and solid waste was generated, the website explained.

The GAO report noted that the cleanup effort of nearly 30 years has faced persistent challenges, and that the cost of the project has more than tripled to nearly $17 billion.

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