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The Department of Energy (DOE) proposed legislation that would allow it to enter into cooperative agreements with various states to clean up residual radioactive materials, called uranium mill tailings, at 22 inactive uranium mills. About 25 million tons of mill tailings have accumulated at these sites since the 1940's. Under the proposed legislation, the federal government would pay up to 75 percent of the cost of the joint program and the states would contribute the rest.

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