More than 100 truckloads of waste contaminated with plutonium have been shipped off Hanford so far this year, the Department of Energy announced Wednesday.
"This shows we can do a tremendous amount of (transuranic waste) shipping when we have the funds available," said Cameron Hardy, DOE spokesman.
Transuranic waste, which typically is debris such as clothing and laboratory waste contaminated with plutonium, is sent to a national repository in New Mexico called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, for disposal.
Transuranic waste shipments from Hanford were on hold until 2014 because environmental cleanup money was needed for other work.
But shipments were able to resume in March after an almost 18-month hiatus after Hanford received $1.96 billion in federal economic stimulus money.
Since 2000, shortly after WIPP opened, 540 shipments have been made from Hanford, including 107 so far this year.
The shipments made this year at Hanford will help meet DOE's stated goal of disposing of 90 percent of the nation's stored transuranic waste by 2015, said John Price, of the Washington State Department of Ecology, a Hanford regulator.
The total number of shipments required to finish Hanford cleanup are unknown, as workers continue to unearth temporarily buried waste that might be classified as transuranic or low-level radioactive waste.
Trucks carry three stainless steel containers of waste in a shipment, with each container holding as many as 14 55-gallon drums or two large boxes of waste.
Some of Hanford's waste is shipped first to the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project near Idaho Falls, Idaho, to be compacted before it is sent to WIPP.
Now shipments are being made to Idaho, and that will continue at a rate of five to eight shipments a week through January. In February shipments will be made to WIPP after a maintenance outage period there ends.