Daily fines the U.S. Department of Energy is paying Idaho for missing a deadline to get radioactive liquid waste out of underground storage tanks passed $3.5 million this week.
The federal agency started paying the fines in 2015. It's in violation of a 1992 agreement involving 900,000 gallons of sodium-bearing waste sitting above the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer at its isolated desert site in eastern Idaho -- that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.
Federal and state officials are considering spending about $2.2 million of the accumulated fines for monitoring wells in the aquifer that's used by cities for drinking water and farmers for irrigation.
The Energy Department built a $600 million facility to treat the liquid waste, but it has so far failed to work.
(by Keith Ridler, Associated Press)