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It's only the nation's biggest nuclear-contamination site

In my never-ending search for ways to convince folks that sequestration cuts really matter, and that Congress actually needs to deal with this problem very soon, I offer this piece from the Wall Street Journal.

Contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the U.S.'s biggest nuclear-contamination site, plan to lay off at least 200 workers and furlough 2,500 more due to the across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester, the U.S. Department of Energy said.

The Richland, Wash., facility administered by the DOE produced atomic-weapons ingredients for decades, leaving behind nuclear waste at its closure. The DOE spends about $2 billion a year cleaning Hanford's soil and buildings, about a third of funds the department designates for nuclear cleanup nationally.

Hanford contractors will lay off workers beginning this month and start furloughs in April, said DOE spokesman Erik Olds on Tuesday.

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is perhaps best known for producing plutonium for bombs dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II.

"Now is no time to scale back federal commitments to protecting public and environmental health," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a statement.

He's right. When sequestration lays off workers, it's a problem. When sequestration lays off workers cleaning up the nation's largest nuclear-contamination site, it's a different kind of problem.