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What Will Be Done With Six Leaking Waste Tanks at Hanford?

Six tanks now leaking at Hanford
(Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement Friday saying more leaking waste tanks at Hanford have been revealed.

Last week, U.S. Department Energy Secretary Stephen Chu informed the governor tank T-111, a single-shell vessel holding hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive waste and sludge, was oozing between 150 to 300 gallons of waste per year.

Now the department has learned after recalculating tank levels that five more single-shell tanks are also classified as “leakers.”

The exact amounts leaking from the thanks was not specified immediately. There are 149 single-shell tanks among the 177 total tanks. According to a statement from the governor, the leaking tanks are not posing any immediate health hazards and are more than five miles from the Columbia River.

However, Inslee is concerned that sequestration starting March 1 could furlough Hanford cleanup workers when they are needed most.

Inslee said he’d like to see more double-shell tanks built to transfer waste from the older WW II-era single-shelled tanks. The new tanks would be used to store the waste until the vitrification plant is finished and can process the waste.

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