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Nearly a decade ago, Alvarez said, he began warning the United States about the need to pay more attention to risks at the open-air storage pools.
Of 104 nuclear reactors in the United States, Alvarez said, 34 are of the same design -- open-air, elevated storage pools -- as the Fukushima plant. The U.S. pools are storing much more spent fuel than the ones in Fukushima and "are currently holding, on the average, four times more than their design intended," the expert added.
The U.S. pools are storing much more spent fuel than the ones in Fukushima and "are currently holding, on the average, four times more than their design intended," the expert added.
The weapons production reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, but the manufacturing process left behind 53 million U.S. gallons (204,000 m³) of high-level radioactive waste that remains at the site. This represents two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume.
Source: Wiki: Hanford Site
As of 2008, 1 million U.S. gallons (4,000 m3) of highly radioactive waste is traveling through the groundwater toward the Columbia River. This waste is expected to reach the river in 12 to 50 years if cleanup does not proceed on schedule.