'Construction flaws' Could Lead to More Tank Leaks at Hanford - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

'Construction flaws' in Hanford Double-Walled Tanks Could Lead to Additional Leaks

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New documents show there are "significant construction flaws" in some newer, double-shelled nuclear waste storage tanks that could lead to additional leaks at the Hanford site. New documents show there are "significant construction flaws" in some newer, double-shelled nuclear waste storage tanks that could lead to additional leaks at the Hanford site.

HANFORD, WA - New documents show there are "significant construction flaws" in some newer, double-shelled nuclear waste storage tanks that could lead to additional leaks at the Hanford site.
    
The double-shelled tanks hold some of the worst radioactive waste at the Hanford site.
    
One of the 28 giant underground tanks was found to be leaking in 2012. But documents obtained by the Associated Press show subsequent surveys of other double-walled tanks performed by a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy found at least six shared defects with the leaking tank that could lead to future leaks.
    
The documents say 13 additional tanks also might be compromised.
    
Questions about the storage tanks jeopardize efforts to clean up radioactive waste at the Hanford site. Those efforts already cost taxpayers about $2 billion a year.

NBC Right Now called the Department of Energy's office of River Protection for a comment Friday and a spokesperson told us he would call us back. However, we haven't received any phone call.

After the Associated Press released their findings, Congress Doc Hastings released this statement:

"There is no new threat to our communities or our environment.  It's no secret that Hanford tanks were never designed to last forever.  It is also no secret that it is critical for the federal government to be aggressive when it comes to work at WTP and the Tank Farms.  I've continued to press the Department of Energy to provide more information to the State of Washington, Congress, and stakeholders about their draft framework so that a path forward can be finalized.

"I have serious concerns, though, about any short term Band-Aid that diverts focus and resources away from the real solution – getting these wastes ready to feed WTP, vitrifying them, and ultimately sending the high-level portion to Yucca Mountain.  New storage tanks will never be a panacea for Hanford waste – and the very real risks and trade-offs associated with pumping tanks are too often ignored.

"Frankly, there is nothing new here and it's important to keep situations like AY-102 in perspective within the broader context of Hanford cleanup, including WTP, tank retrievals, groundwater remediation, and other components."

 

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