Nuclear Waste to Be

Moved Away From River

Almost 12 million tons of radioactive waste will be moved from the banks of the Colorado River, the source of drinking water for more than 25 million people in the West, the government said.

Energy Department officials yesterday cleared the way for a plan announced earlier this year.

The 94-foot-high pile of uranium mining waste is near Moab, Utah, and 750 feet from the river. The department now will work on the specifics of moving the waste to a site at Crescent Junction, more than 30 miles northwest.

Concern that contaminants would leach into the Colorado River was heightened by January flooding in southern Utah.

Moab's rich uranium deposits were mined for nuclear bombs starting in the 1950s. The Energy Department took over the site in 2001.

Left behind was a 130-acre uranium tailings pile, which is mostly in the open air on bare ground, surrounded by a chain-link fence.

Records on Outing

Of CIA Agent Blocked

Two congressional committees rejected Democratic-backed resolutions that would have compelled the Bush administration to turn over records relating to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and International Relations Committee, who opposed the resolution, said Congress should await the outcome of a federal investigation by special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Democrats countered that Republicans were trying to protect President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove. "We know that this is a political decision because there is potential embarrassment to the administration," said Rep. William D. Delahunt (D-Mass.).

The resolutions, rejected in committee votes along party lines, sought to force the departments of Justice and State to turn over all documents related to Plame.

Panel Faults Turnover

Of Senior FBI Officials

The FBI has experienced excessive turnover among senior officials, hampering cooperation with state and local authorities since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said a report released yesterday.

The senior agents who run the 56 FBI field offices average just 15 months before moving on to new assignments or leaving the bureau, said a report by the congressionally chartered National Academy of Public Administration. At FBI headquarters in Washington, the average posting for high-ranking officials is 13 months, the report said.

The short tenures of special agents in charge of the field offices make "it difficult for them to perform one of their most important functions, developing effective relationships with state and local officials," said former attorney general Richard Thornburgh, chairman of the panel that produced the report. It was released at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on changes at the FBI after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

-- From News Services