Energy Department: Hanford Tank Possibly Leaking into Soil - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Energy Department: Hanford Double Shell Tank Possibly Leaking into Soil

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RICHLAND, Wash. - The U.S. Department of Energy says a double-shell underground tank at Hanford containing some of the worst radioactive waste at the site may be leaking into the soil. 

The DOE says workers at Hanford detected higher radioactivity levels under tank AY-102 during a routine inspection on Thursday.

The Energy Department announced last year that AY-102 was leaking between its two walls, but inspectors said no waste had escaped at that time.

AY-102 is one of Hanford's tanks with two walls, which were installed years ago when single-shell tanks began leaking. The DOE says workers pumped some of the worst liquid from those single shell tanks into the sturdier double-shell tanks, but the double-shell tanks are now beyond their intended life span. 

In a statement from ORP they say they've put together a team of engineers to conduct additional sampling of the elevated radiation levels. Governor Jay Inslee says Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz notified him of the possible leak last night. Today he made his frustrations clear.


"Let me be clear. Good intentions at Hanford are not enough," said Inslee "I've advised the secretary of my strong concerns; concerns regarding the pace of addressing the leaking tanks and progress on the vitrification plant."