tri-cityherald.com / By Annette Cary — Tri-City Herald / Published: February 22, 2013
Six of Hanford’s underground waste storage tanks are leaking radioactive and hazardous chemical waste into the ground, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday afternoon.
Last week the state said one single-shell tank was leaking up to 300 gallons of waste a year. But after meeting Friday with Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Inslee now says he’s been told five more are leaking.
Whether there could be more than six tanks leaking has not been determined, he said. Chu wants to personally study the data, according to the state of Washington.
The amount of the waste leaking from each tank varies. Several tanks date from the World War II era, with five built in 1943-1944 and the sixth in the 1950s. Three are in tank farms other than the T Tank Farm, the grouping of 16 tanks where Tank T-111 was discovered to be leaking last week.
DOE has not confirmed that six tanks are leaking, but said Friday in a statement that that they do have declining levels of liquid.