Wash. state seeks protection for Hanford workers

Federal hearing on Hanford protections

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Washington state wants a federal judge to issue an injunction requiring the Department of Energy and its contractor to take steps to protect workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

News reports said from January through July, Hanford workers reported suspicious smells or symptoms that indicate exposure to chemical vapors.

The Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says more than 50 workers have been exposed to toxic vapors and the "culture of indifference to worker safety must end."

The state plans to make that argument during a federal hearing set for Wednesday morning in Spokane.

The agency has claimed that the plaintiffs in the case have not shown harm to Hanford workers from vapors. It has argued that symptoms like headaches are common and don't necessarily indicate exposure to vapors.

The state called that claim "astounding."

The judge also will hear arguments on DOE's motion to dismiss the state's case.

'Catastrophic' event at Hanford prompts emergency response

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