KENNEWICK, Wash. -

The federal government is recommending a phased start to treatment of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

The Tri-City Herald reports the Department of the Energy proposes starting to treat some of the 56 million gallons of waste held underground at Hanford as soon as possible. Meanwhile, work would continue to resolve technical issues at a plant that will turn high-level waste into glass for disposal.

The federal government created Hanford to build the atomic bomb at the height of World War II. Today, it's the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, with cleanup expected to last decades.

  In June, the federal government notified state officials that it is at serious risk of missing two cleanup deadlines at Hanford. Gov. Jay Inslee has said the state would work to ensure that federal cleanup commitments are met.