After nearly a year of study, the U.S. Department of Energy says fewer radioactive waste tanks appear to be leaking at Hanford than originally thought.
The federal agency that manages Hanford says only one of six suspected leakers is actually a problem. That tank called T-111 is losing about 300 gallons of waste a year. But the federal government says it appears to be stabilizing.
The Department of Energy's Lori Gamache says scientists carefully evaluated the tanks with video surveillance, temperature readings and liquid level measurements. For all the tanks except T-111, Gamache says, "The level decreases are due to evaporation, they are not actively leaking.”
Another tank called AY-102 – a double-hulled tank – is still leaking internally at Hanford.
The southeast Washington site stores 56 million gallons of radioactive waste leftover from plutonium production during World War II and the Cold War in aging underground vessels.