RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden says the public needs more time to comment on a proposal to reclassify radioactive waste stored at the nation's nuclear weapons production complex.

The Oregon Democrat this week joined calls for the process to be slowed down.

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering a change to how it interprets the legal definition of high level radioactive waste.

The Tri-City Herald says that would allow more flexibility in how it disposes of waste at sites like the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland.

Defining less of the nation's nuclear waste as high level could speed up environmental cleanup that is expected to take decades and save billions of dollars.

But critics say it could also mean more waste allowed to remain in the ground at Hanford.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com

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