America

Nuclear Waste Seeping From 6 Containers In Washington

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010. i i

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010. Shannon Dininny/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Shannon Dininny/AP
Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010.

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010.

Shannon Dininny/AP

The number of underground containers seeping nuclear waste has increased to six from one at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash.

On his twitter account, Gov. Jay Inslee said he received the news during a meeting with Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu. Inslee called the news "disturbing."

"News of six leaking tanks at Hanford raises serious questions about [the] integrity of all single tanks," Inslee said on Twitter. "But there are no immediate health risks."

As Korva reported last week, the Department of Energy said one single-shell tank was losing between 150 to 300 gallons of radioactive waste each year.

Korva added:

"Hanford has been in existence since the 1940s, when the site was used to prepare plutonium for bombs. As NPR's Martin Kaste tells our Newscast Desk, federal officials have spent many years and billions of dollars cleaning up the reservation, including efforts to protect the nearby Columbia River. There are 177 tanks holding nuclear waste at the Hanford site; Gov. Inslee says 149 are single shelled, like the leaking one. Worse, they've outlived their 20-year life expectancy."

Earlier today, the Northwest News Network reported that Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said new litigation concerning the reservation is more likely now.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.