nuclear waste

An apparent surge in leakage from a huge tank of radioactive waste set off alarms at the Hanford nuclear site in south-central Washington. This involves an aging, double-shelled tank that contractors were slowly pumping out.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

There’s got to be a better plan for leaking tanks of waste at Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. That’s according to a new report by the federal Government Accountability Office.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia Commons

For the third time this week there are calls to protect workers from hazardous vapors at Hanford. This time from Washington’s congressional delegation.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Thursday three groups with ties to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation announced they intend to sue the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

Seattle-based watchdog group Hanford Challenge, a Richland workers’ union, and the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility are piling on. They said there’s been a lack of action at the Hanford site to correct worker exposures to harmful tank vapors.

The groups notified Energy and Hanford contractor Washington River Protection Solutions about the intent to sue in 90 days.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

For decades workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington have been complaining of vapors from radioactive sludge. Workers at the tank farms say the fumes give them sore throats, headaches and dizziness. Now Washington State says it intends to sue the U.S. Department of Energy in 90 days if more isn’t done to protect these workers.

U.S. Department of Energy

Removing and disposing of contaminated soil is one of the biggest jobs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

So when government officials announced this week they want to look into digging a bit shallower at the southeast Washington site, a lot of people took notice.

Department of Energy

Washington state and the federal government just gave themselves a 40-day deadline. They need a clear cleanup plan for leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. If you think you’ve heard that before, it’s because you have.

Competition Seeks To Save Money At Hanford

Nov 25, 2013
U.S. Department of Energy

Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are looking for creative ways to save money at the southeast Washington site. They’re holding an idea competition with federal and contractor employees called the Grand Challenge. 

Washington's Governor calls a new proposal to phase-in portions of cleanup at Hanford an intriguing idea, but says it doesn’t solve immediate problems of leaking waste tanks.

Hanford Waste Plan Under Debate In New Mexico

Apr 4, 2013

CARLSBAD, N.M. - Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a plan to send some nuclear waste from leaky storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to southern New Mexico. The proposed new storage site is near Carlsbad and it's called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. WIPP, as it’s known, has been prohibited from receiving Hanford tank waste for nearly a decade. Now, New Mexicans are debating whether to reverse course, and accept some of the waste.

RICHLAND, Wash. - The U.S. Department of Energy says its wants to send 3 million gallons of radioactive tank waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to a storage site in New Mexico. That’s 3 million gallons out of a total of 56 million gallons of some of the most toxic stuff on earth.

But what is different about this waste in particular, and why some groups are against moving it to New Mexico?

At a recent news conference at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, “We have some good news here today.”

Photo by Anna King

It may take two to four years to even begin clearing radioactive waste from leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. That’s according to Washington Governor Jay Inslee. He toured the southeast Washington nuclear site Wednesday. Correspondent Anna King was on that bus tour and has more.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Environmental regulators are assuring lawmakers in Olympia that leaking radioactive material from tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has not yet reached ground water. The comments came at a hearing Thursday in the Washington Senate.

Hanford managers have said six single-shelled tanks are leaking nuclear waste.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday expressed his continuing apprehension over the tank leaks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He says as the Department of Energy and its contractors are evaluating more than 100 tanks with a new set of criteria, “I have real concerns about the remaining single shell tanks as well.”

Separately, Hanford managers said Wednesday they’ve successfully cleaned up a major part of contaminated land just north of Richland called the 300 Area.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is calling for a federal investigation into the leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Tuesday the senator asked the federal Government Accountability Office to look into the six single-hulled tanks that are losing radioactive waste.

Wyden is the new chair of a committee that closely watches and funds work at Hanford. The Department of Energy says less than three gallons of radioactive waste could be leaking from the tanks each day.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new detail has emerged on the leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The federal Energy Department acknowledged last week that six single-shelled tanks are holding less radioactive waste than they used to. Monday the agency said those tanks are losing less than three gallons a day.

Worst case: Three gallons per day adds up to 1,095 gallons of radioactive waste per year. The Department of Energy says it doesn’t know yet how long these tanks might have been seeping waste.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will be asking the federal Government Accountability Office to investigate the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s tank monitoring and maintenance program. This after Friday’s revelation that a total of seven tanks are leaking at Hanford, and there might be more.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee says at least seven tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are leaking, not two. He says the Department of Energy and its contractors have apparently miscalculated data that would have found the leaks earlier.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Problems at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be a key issue in the confirmation hearings for the next Secretary of Energy. That’s what Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said after he toured the southeast Washington site Tuesday.

Wyden chairs the Senate committee that will consider President Obama’s pick to replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Oregon Democrat toured Hanford’s tank farms, where millions of gallons of radioactive waste is stored. Two of those tanks have possible leaks.

A Hanford Nuclear Reservation watchdog says U.S. Energy officials have bigger problems than the waste that is possibly leaking from a tank in southeast Washington. The tank, called T-111, is losing about 150 to 300 gallons of liquid waste a year.

Department of Energy

There are renewed concerns about the condition of buried waste tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. The U.S. Department of Energy says one of those mammoth World War II era containers – thought to have been stabilized - is losing highly radioactive waste at a rate of 150 to 300 gallons a year.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to radioactive leaks from the Hanford reservation in southeast Washington. The Democrat made his comments Friday in response to news of an apparent leak of high level nuclear waste from an underground tank.

This would be the first leak of its kind since 2005. That’s when the US Department of Energy completed efforts to stabilize dozens of tanks that had released more than a million gallons of waste into the ground.

RICHLAND, Wash. - A bipartisan group of senior senators is drafting a bill to overhaul the U.S. nuclear-waste program. The group, which includes Oregon’s Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, is aiming to find a permanent home for the nation’s radioactive waste.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

News out of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can sometimes sound like just one critical report after another. In fact, last week a federal watchdog agency said Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant is in jeopardy. Several developments lately have intensified the debate over this question: Should a massive federal waste treatment plant move ahead or stop to fix its nagging technical problems? Correspondent Anna King has more.

U.S. Department of Energy

Federal and state officials announced this week that construction can partially resume at Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant now that some technical problems have been resolved. But a top former Hanford manager is calling for the Secretary of Energy to halt work altogether on the southeast Washington project.

Photo courtesy U.S. Congress

Idaho Governor Butch Otter underscored his commitment Monday to keeping more spent nuclear waste from entering Idaho. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Photo Credit: Aaron Kunz

A nuclear watchdog group says it’s skeptical about a new set of recommendations that could result in more nuclear waste coming into Idaho.

Washington River Protection Solutions

Some of the decisions made over the last 40 years at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are coming back to haunt the site’s current managers. A new report out this week examined why a double-hulled tank of radioactive waste recently sprung a leak in its inner shell. That has raised the possibility of having to pump out the waste from the tank.

Bechtel National, Inc.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

U.S. Department of Energy

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation needs new storage tanks for radioactive waste, now that one of the aging double-hulled tanks has been found to be leaking. That was the consensus Friday of a board that advises federal Hanford managers.

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