Inslee: ‘Disturbing' News Hanford Has At Least 7 Leaking Tanks

By Anna King

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

Governor Inslee called the revelation that six single-shell tanks and one double-shell tank are actively leaking at Hanford quote ‘disturbing’ news. Inslee said he would have more information to share next week, but that U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told him in a meeting in Washington, D.C., that the department is looking for faster ways to empty those tanks. Empting a single underground tank has sometimes taken years. Inslee also said that there might be more than the seven leaking tanks. The Energy department is looking for others. Inslee says it’s not clear exactly how much radioactive waste has leaked.

Jay Inslee: “The amount of the leakage varies from tank to tank. Although, they are levels that should cause us concern and demand action.”

Inslee adds that Chu told him if the federal budget cuts known as the sequester go through on March first, cleanup workers at Hanford would have to be cut back. And that would likely slow down work on the tank farms.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio

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