The federal government says in a new report that it may take six years to start emptying a leaking double-hulled tank of waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Washington state law says any leaks must be dealt with as soon as possible – but the federal government’s soon as possible is maybe years away. That’s because it could take 18 months just to get and set up equipment to pump sludge from the leaking double-hulled tank called AY-102. In addition it will take about six years to secure appropriate tank space to put all that sludge.
Ken Niles is in charge of looking over this waste for the State of Oregon. He says these new timelines are troubling. “There doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue that the environment does not seem to be at risk today, but we don’t know if that will be the case tomorrow, a month from now or 19 months from now.”
The internal leak from tank AY-102 was first detected late in 2011.
On the Web:
Tank 241 AY-102 Leak Assessment Report - US Dept. of Energy