The nation's largest collection of deadly wastes left behind from the production of nuclear weapons sits at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation. Late last month, the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees the site, revealed a slow leak in the oldest of 28 double-shell waste tanks, saying a small amount of waste was leaking into the space between the inner and outer walls.
These double shell tanks are supposed to be the more secure back up tanks to replace the older, already failing single shell tanks that hold millions of gallons of radioactive waste.
Whistle blowing group Hanford Challenge originally discovered the new leaking tank, and now the DOE has officially announced they are working to deal with the problem. It is yet another incident that highlights the dangerous nature of stored nuclear waste, and underscores the importance of creating a longer term, safer solution.
Isaac Kaplan-Woolner has more with Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge.
For its part, the Department of Energy says no waste is believed to have leaked from the double walled tank into the environment on the reservation near Richland.
The state Department of Ecology is working with federal officials to decide how to deal with the leak.