Washington state Hanford nuclear waste tank leaks
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Author:  KingCobra [ Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Washington state Hanford nuclear waste tank leaks

Washington state officials say they can take several actions, including filing a lawsuit, if the U.S. Department of Energy fails to deliver an acceptable plan for fixing or emptying a leaking double-shell tank at the Hanford Site.

"My full expectation from the federal government is that we receive information in a timely fashion and that it's transparent," said Maia D. Bellon, who was tapped in February by Gov. Jay Inslee to head Ecology.

Bellon said state officials were not happy that they learned key details of the tank leak investigation from watching KING 5 News' continuing series of reports on 241-AY-102, the first-ever double-shell nuclear waste tank to leak at Hanford.

Ecology is one of two government agencies with responsibility for overseeing the multi-decade cleanup at Hanford, as established by a 1989 agreement with the federal government. Any problems at Hanford, including tank leaks, are supposed to be disclosed to Ecology as soon as possible by Hanford officials.

That requirement was not met after tests were conducted on 241-AY-102 last August. Internal emails written by scientists working for Washington River Protection Solutions -- the DOE contractor managing the tank farm -- show that the August test results were consistent with nuclear sludge leaking from the main tank. Duct tape used to collect samples gave off extremely high levels of radiation, and tests showed the tape was contaminated with the radioactive isotopes Strontium-90, Cesium-137, Plutonium 239/240 and Americium.


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