Inslee: Hanford tank leaking radioactive waste (with video)
RICHLAND, Feb 15, 2013 (Tri-City Herald (Kennewick - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
One of Hanford's oldest single-shell tanks is leaking up to 300 gallons of radioactive waste per year, according to an announcement from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's office.
"Washington State has a zero tolerance policy on radioactive leakage," Inslee said in a statement. We will not tolerate any leaks of this material to the environment."
The Department of Energy is saying that liquid levels in Hanford's underground Tank T-111 are decreasing by 150 to 300 gallons a year, but that the specific cause has not been determined. Monitoring wells near the tank have not identified significant changes in concentrations of chemicals or radionuclides in the soil, according to DOE. This tank was classified as one of the tanks assumed to be leaking in 1979, but in February 1995 pumpable liquids were removed from the tank.
In recent years, none of the single-shell tanks were known to be leaking. Tank T-111 is a 530,000-gallon capacity underground storage tank built between 1943-44, and put into service in 1945.
T-111 currently contains approximately 447,000 gallons of sludge, a mixture of solids and liquids with a mud-like consistency.
There are a total of 177 tanks at the Hanford with 56 million gallons of waste left from the past production of plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program.
VIDEO: GOV. INSLEE'S PRESS CONFERENCE
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