Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, both Democrats, have championed building additional tanks to ensure safe storage of the waste until the plant is completed.
Wyden, who toured the site earlier this week, said he shares their concerns about the integrity of the tanks but that he wants more scientific information to determine it’s the correct way to spend scarce money.
Wyden noted the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site — and the challenges associated with ridding it of its toxic legacy — will be a subject of upcoming hearings and a higher priority in Washington, D.C.
Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge, a Hanford watchdog group, said Friday it’s disappointing that the Energy Department is not further along on the waste treatment plant and that there aren’t new tanks to transfer waste into.
‘‘None of these tanks would be acceptable for use today. They are all beyond their design life. None of them should be in service,’’ he said. ‘‘And yet, they’re holding two-thirds of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.’’
Associated Press writer Dina Cappiello in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.