Washington State Orders Hanford Managers To Empty Leaking Tank

Mar 21, 2014

View inside the space between the two walls of Tank AY-102 at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Credit U.S. Department of Energy

Friday the state of Washington ordered the federal government to pump out a leaking double-shell tank of waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The state says pumping must begin by September first. Correspondent Anna King has more.

This move comes after months of polite talks and planning. But now, Ecology says it’s fed up with waiting. The federal government was going to start pumping out the leaking tank called AY-102 about 18 months from now. The state said no way, and is pushing the fall deadline. Tank AY-102 is one of 28 double-shell tanks at Hanford. They contain hundreds of thousands of gallons of highly-radioactive liquid and peanut-butter-like sludge. Right now, federal officials say the tank is only leaking in-between its double hull walls. But the concern is it could leak out into the environment.

The old tanks at Hanford hold the leftovers from plutonium production during WWII and the Cold War.

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