A report said that an underground waste tank is leaking a radioactive liquid at a Washington nuclear site. Estimates are that gallons are leaking into local soil daily.
Underground Waste Tanks Leaking at Nuclear Sites are Dangerous
Officials say that a chemical waste tank full of radioactive material is leaking, a cause for concern, reported UPI. State officials said an underground chemical waste tank stored in southeast Washington is leaking gallons of liquid a day into the soil.
According to the Department of Ecology for Washington, which reported a leak in a statement last Thursday, tank B-109 was found at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, 170 miles from Spokane.
One department official said that the leaking tank is very old compared to other chemical tanks on site. It is roughly 75 years old and has been dripping at least 3.5 gallons a day since March 2019, with an estimated 1700 gallons in total; the leak is a cause for concern.
Hanfoed nuclear site released the following statement:
"The tank holds 15,000 gallons of liquid waste after the majority of its contents is drained, leaving only a very small amount of liquid waste in the tank."
Laura Watson, Ecology Director, stated that the underground waste tank is leaking a radioactive liquid, and dangerous chemical waste is a serious concern. She added, "According to the information we already have, the leak presents no immediate danger to staff or the general public, but it did add to the ongoing imminent hazard to the environment at Hanford."
The Hanford nuclear site started during the second world war, as it produced weapons-grade plutonium used for the atomic bomb over imperial Japan, said the website.
Way back in 1984, it was confirmed that the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington State Department of Ecology had reached a deal to clean up the Hanford site, making it one of the world's most significant nuclear cleanup initiatives.
A statement by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation said that one of its tanks is leaking when monitoring teams saw a drop in the suspected tank level. It followed a formal leak assessment starting in July 2020 and was completed Thursday.
Another statement from the site administrators said that contamination in the area is not new, and mitigation actions were taken throughout the decades of operation to protect the workers, the public, and the environment.
Any contamination from the tank would take more than 25 years to reach the water table, between 210 and 240 feet underneath it, said officials.
Other remarks about the nuclear leak from the state ecology department mentioned the Columbia River is miles away, so there should be no worries.
Watson also stated," This leak is contributing to the estimated 1 million gallons of tank waste in the Hanford site's soil." She made an additional remark, "This reinforces the crucial need for investment to fix Hanford's deteriorating tanks, which will continue to degrade and leak over time."
An advocacy group called the Hanford Challenge asked politicians to clean and repair the Hanford site and fix the underground waste tanks at the nuclear site.