Department of Energy resumes waste retrieval activities at Hanfo - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Energy resumes waste retrieval activities at Hanford double-shell tank

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RICHLAND, WA—The U.S. Department of Energy said they have resumed waste retrieval at Hanford’s double-shell tank AY-102.

Waste retrieval from the tank was paused earlier this week after changes were detected in the level of waste in the annulus (the space between the inner and outer shells) of the tank.

Monitoring and inspections show no visual or chemical indications that waste from the tank has leaked into the environment.

Workers began pumping waste from the annulus space of tank AY-102 back into the primary tank using the annulus pumps, which were pre-installed for just such a contingency Thursday.  Workers also resumed operations to remove waste from the primary tank to another double-shell tank.

DOE anticipated that changes in the level of waste in the annulus could occur, as tank sludge waste was removed or shifted, potentially opening up a less obstructed leak path into the annulus.

Hanford Tank leaks more radioactive waste, no ground contamination reported

“We were prepared for this event,” said Glyn Trenchard, DOE’s Deputy Assistant Manager for the Tank Farms. “Our workforce should be commended for their teamwork and perseverance in safely implementing the Contingency Plan and procedures, and resuming operations to remove waste from the tank.”

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