It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
SEATTLE -- As part of the biggest, costliest environmental cleanup project in the nation’s history—disposing of 53 million gallons of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state—one thing was supposed to be sure: Waste stored in the sturdy, double-wall steel tanks that hold part of the toxic ooze wasn’t going anywhere. But that reassurance has been thrown into question with the discovery of a 3-foot-long piece of radioactive material between the inner and outer steel walls of one of the storage tanks, prompting new worries at the troubled cleanup site.
Over the years, more than 1 million gallons of waste has leaked out of 67 single-wall tanks into the surrounding soil. “There’s been this presumption that the double-shell tanks at least are sound and won’t fail, and they’ll be there for us,” said Tom Carpenter of the advocacy group Hanford Challenge. Several days ago the group obtained a memo from the cleanup site detailing discovery of the mysterious substance. “This changes everything. It is alarming that there is now solid evidence that Hanford double-shell has leaked,” Carpenter said in a separate statement on the discovery. The 42-year-old tank, known as AY-102, holds about 857,000 gallons of radioactive and other toxic chemical waste, much of it removed several years ago from a single-shell storage tank where it was considered unsafe. Workers who relocated the material fell ill simply from inhaling the fumes, Carpenter said.