A long-standing leak was found inside a double-walled nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Site in south-central Washington. The leak got worse over the weekend as it set off an alarm.
However, the Washington Department of Ecology said in a statement on Monday that there is no indication of radioactive waste leaking into the environment. The statement also mentioned that the Hanford incident poses no threat to public health.
On Sunday, machines detected a striking rise of toxic brew inside the space between the inner and outer walls of Tank AY-102 to a depth of about 8 inches.
According to the US Department of Energy, the waste level at Hanford had dropped slightly by today, says GeekWire.
On the hand, Governor Jay Inslee said that it’s obviously unsettling news.
“We don’t want to see any leaking through any of these skins. That’s why we have been insistent on the federal government accelerating this cleanup,” Inslee said.
“As you know, with the aid of the (state) attorney general we are holding the federal government’s feet to the fire to insist that they meet these timelines.”
Former Hanford worker, Mike Geffre said that the leak had turned into a catastrophic incident. He added that it is probably the biggest event to have ever taken place in tank farm history.
The news of relief is today’s statements made by federal and state officials, which made the situation sound less distressful, says NW News Network.
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There had been an incident in the past at Hanford nuclear site when sludge containing radioactive and chemical waste leaked into the 2-foot-wide space between the tank walls, known as the annulus. But the waste quickly dried up.
While talking about the present scenario, the Energy Department said that the change in the waste level had been detected. They also said that the tank’s condition was being tested “out of an abundance of caution.”
The tank leaks pose “no immediate or near-term health risks.” However, the Department of Ecology said that there are concerns regarding future groundwater problems.