Governor: Nuclear waste leaking at an estimated 1,000 gallons a year — “No available technology to plug the leaks” at Hanford

Published: February 27th, 2013 at 8:27 pm ET


Associated Press, Feb. 27: Radioactive waste tanks may be leaking some 1,000 gallons per year at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday officials are still evaluating how to effectively remove the remaining material from the problematic tanks. The 1,000-gallon figure is a rough estimate based on the early assessment of six identified leakers. Inslee said the leakage numbers are still being evaluated to determine exactly how much has been lost and how fast the waste is leaving the tanks. Inslee said there’s no available technology to plug the leaks […]

Businessweek, Feb. 27: The Energy Department has expressed concern that contamination from the single-shell tanks may be making its way toward the Columbia River, which supplies drinking water and agricultural irrigation.

Update: [intlink id=”tv-leaking-radioactive-material-nuclear-site-extremely-reactive-always-changing-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 27th, 2013 at 8:27 pm ET


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33 comments to Governor: Nuclear waste leaking at an estimated 1,000 gallons a year — “No available technology to plug the leaks” at Hanford

  • pcjensen

    mhm… the original report said 100-300gals per day… another said many many more gallons leaked over the years… so… how much exactly per day has leaked into and continues to leak into the Colombia River or soil?

    Betting: no body actually knows the true numbers.

    • yogda yogda

      I'm betting the true amount will never be told publicly.
      They can get an idea of how much has escaped by looking at the current levels in each of the tanks.

      You'd think Hanford would have some type of meter system to detect tank levels without digging them up and…

  • PavewayIII PavewayIII

    Of course there is no %!@#$ technology to plug the leaks, Inslee. Do your job for a change and suck that filth out of there into some kind of temporary storage. Bechtel will have their magic glass machine ready in a few years.

    ANYTHING is better that just letting it ooze out into the watershed until you get your fat bureaucratic butt into gear. The feds are not going to help you – they don't work for you. If you think they can be coerced into action, then start fining them $100,000 a day until the tanks are emptied.

    Sheesh… Louisiana DNR moves faster than you. How about we dig a groundwater-fed hot tub between the tanks and the river and toss you in. You can conduct the business of Washington state from that hot tub just as long as you want.

    Too bad Washington state didn't have 'Absolutely zero tolerance' for windbag politicians.

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      Hey, I am so proud of that windbag politician!!! Go Inslee!!! He has called DOE to task, and I worry he is pissing off some very connected people.., fining the feds is just wasting more tax dollars for nothing.

      Remember, Inslee just got the job… since January.. he just might be on our side here.. could ya give him a minute please. 🙂 Not forever, but just a minute 😉

      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        "…Remember, Inslee just got the job… since January…"

        I seriously did not know that, Cat… I'm not from anywhere. I figured he was there for years.

        Sorry, Gov. Inslee. I sincerely apologize for attacking you – it's kind of a knee-jerk reaction for me, nowadays. I will defer to Cataclysmic's better judgement and stand down. Unless there's someone at Bechtel you want me to excoriate. Then, I'm your man (or at least a reasonable personification of one on the internet).

  • Mack Mack

    They've known about radioactive contamination and pollution from Hanford for decades.

    Begin watching this video @10:35, where problems at Hanford are discussed:!

    Here are some points from the video:

    —> In 1943, 170 gigantic concrete tanks were built at Hanford to hold radioactive waste. The tanks were supposed to be temporary.

    —> 200 million litres of highly radioactive gunge remains there.

    —> In the 1980's they found 60 of the tanks were leaking contamination into the groundwater.

    —> A 2002 Department of Energy report confirmed Strontium-90 in Columbia River fish. 13 out of 15 fish caught were contaminated.

    —> A Nuclear Physicist found:

    (a) TRITIUM contamination of the Columbia River; from 2.5 to 13 Bq per litre

    (b) Four times more Uranium than Radium, which is an abnormal ratio

    (c) Europium-152 was found

    (d) and he said the site continually leaks and drags radioactive elements into the water that slowly migrate to the Columbia River

    —> A Nuclear Engineer interviewed said that the ground water near the site will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years – primarily with Chromium. Salmon are laying their eggs in this.

    Watch the video to learn more.

    • redwing redwing

      <blockquote cite="Mack">
      —> In 1943, 170 gigantic concrete tanks were built at Hanford to hold radioactive waste. The tanks were supposed to be temporary.

      —> 200 million litres of highly radioactive gunge remains there.
      Somebody was going on and on about how no matter potentially safe the technology might become, the mere fact that humans are involved should mean we know better than to build these things.

      Don't know a better example of this than the above quote.

      (or, the fact that this was going on for years and they're only now confessing to sins that have by now no doubt made their evil felt to some unfortunate few, soon to be many. Wow.)

  • Jebus Jebus

    The records have to be in public scrutiny, otherwise…

    How would anyone know that the tanks didn't get topped off over the years?

    Hanford leaks not posing food contamination threat to Washington, Oregon by Lora Abcarian | February 27, 2013

    "The tanks are underground and at least five miles from the Columbia River," Hector Castro, communications director for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, told The Produce News, adding that the tanks are buried 200 feet above the groundwater table. "It would take years for contaminants to reach the groundwater."

    DOE Spokesperson Lindsey Geisler issued the following statement regarding the leaking tanks: "The Department of Energy is committed to the safe cleanup of the Hanford site. The cumulative rate of seepage from the six tanks is currently estimated to be less than three gallons a day. To put that amount in perspective, roughly 1 million gallons of material previously leaked into the soil from the single-shell tanks at Hanford over a period of decades. To address those tanks that were leaking, by 2005 the department removed all the drainable liquid possible out of the single-shell tanks, into double-shell tanks. We have not observed any discernible change in the contamination levels in the monitoring wells, but continue to monitor it very closely."

    • Jebus Jebus

      Does anyone else see the "oxymoronic realities" of the officials?

      "It would take years for contaminants to reach the groundwater."

      "To put that amount in perspective, roughly 1 million gallons of material previously leaked into the soil from the single-shell tanks at Hanford over a period of decades"

  • Jebus Jebus

    Know this history…

    LOOKING BACK: The Destructive Legacy of Plutonium Reprocessing

    On February 27, 1986, the Department of Energy released a six-foot-high stack of documents, 19,000 pages in all, concerning the Hanford plutonium plant in south-central Washington State. Most of the documents had been classified as secret or otherwise not available to the public. The shocking contents of those documents helped launch an unprecedented wave of scrutiny of America’s nuclear weapons complex.

    Within three years, safety concerns forced the closure of nearly every major U.S. nuclear weapons manufacturing plant. Over the past 20 years, pressure from citizens, tribes, and state officials has forced the government to provide far more information about Hanford’s lethal legacy, although some important details remain classified.

    Nuclear Renaissance anyone?

  • ftlt

    CBS reported 1,000,000 gallons to date…

    What gives here??

  • Jebus Jebus

    This is my backyard and this has been going on since I was a child.
    It seems to never end. This is the deadly evil cancerous slop that is nuclear's legacy upon the PNW. All one has to do is truly look back at the legacy of nuclear and see what the future holds for this planet.

    Geology of the 241 -TY Tank Farm
    April 1976

    Conservative 40 years of leakage…
    Roughly 1 million gallons of material…
    Ya think it's through the sand and gravel five miles to the river yet?

    history, it's all hiding in plain sight…

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      Damn… The tanks were pretty much built in an unlined pit which is on top of 200' of river sand and pebbles until you hit the water table.

      Could anyone on earth possibly come up with a more insanely stupid design for radioactive slop? Why didn't they just pump it directly into the aquifer – it's all going to end up there anyways.

      So DOE only has to dig up and decontaminate 250' of highly contaminated sand AFTER they dig the leaky tanks out? I think they're going to need a bigger magic glass plant.

    • Sickputer

      History also tells us the government radiation workers in the 1940s and later would in absence of storage tanks just dump radioactive waste into ravines and gullies. At Hanford Site, Los Alamos, and countless other sites in America, Russia, England, and France.

      Kind of like the frackers I know in west Texas who dump their flow back loads on secluded tributaries of the Brazos River.

      • We Not They Finally

        Radiation contamination and the weaponized bird flu are apparently the choice to implement world population control. No doubt thats why the DOW is at record highs….Soon we will go from 7 billion people to 500 million and then eventually to total extinction of all life on this dying planet…Now thats what i call making the wrong choices.Opening the pandora box of radiation and contamination of the Oceans the atmosphere and the earth.Are Humans really doing this?

    • Jebus Jebus

      I think that 200 feet straight down through sand and gravel would only take a short amount of time.

      But, suppose the toxic liquid stuff travelled only 2 feet a day, straight towards the river, 5 miles. A very conservative estimate.

      It would take 13,200 days to get there.
      Only 36 years to get there.
      It has already been over 50…

  • Jebus Jebus

    4.4. Hydrology

    PNNL measured both radiological and nonradiological constituents in Columbia River water during 2002 as part of a continuing environmental monitoring program (Poston et al. 2003). Cumulative water samples are collected at Priest Rapids Dam and at the Richland pumphouse (Figure 4.4-4). Additional samples were taken at transects of the river and at near-shore locations at the Vernita Bridge, 100-F Area, 100-N Area, the Hanford Townsite, and the 300 Area. These water samples were collected at frequencies varying from quarterly to annually. Results are presented in Bisping (2003) and summarized in Poston et al. (2003). These data show a statistical increase in tritium, nitrate, uranium, and iodine-129 along the Hanford Reach. All these constituents are known to be entering the river from contaminated groundwater beneath the Hanford Site (Section 4.4.3). Measurements of strontium-90 at the Richland pumphouse were not statistically higher than those at the Vernita Bridge even though strontium-90 is known to enter the river through groundwater inflow at 100 N Area. Measurements of tritium along transects showed higher concentrations near the shoreline relative to mid-river for samples from the 100-N Area, the Hanford Townsite, the 300 Area, and the Richland pumphouse.

    It's a Pacific Northwest National Labs document…

    Think it has made it to the columbia yet?

  • ftlt

    US Court rules save the whalers Pirates!!!!

    While the globalist war mongers are freedom fighters!!!

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Agonizing cancer death awaits us, thanks to nuclear.

    • We Not They Finally

      No its not just that agonizing cancer death awaits us..It awaits the oceans and everything that lives in the ocean.. It awaits the earth and everything that lives on the earth.It awaits the sky and everything that flies in the sky..That is why the planet we live on has become a hell planet.

  • markww markww

    They need to pump a barrier of rubber sealant into the ground between the tanks and the river to block the radioactive materials which is possibly like a gel solution. Use aggregate to pump in and around the tanks if they can not remove them since the concrete is too broken up and could just totally crack open. After making a barrier pump a rubber compound around the whole mess to put a seal into the system,like a protective liner.


  • dodge

    Amazing technology. Underground tanks not only leak out their hazardous materials, but underground water also seeps into these tanks. Measuring the "fluid levels" only gives a momentary snapshot of volume – it does not measure the concentration of what remains nor does it measure what has leaked out. Bottom line – it all needs to be removed and placed into better storage tanks – then the site cleaned. There is technology to move the waste – but then what? Actually storing it – and making it safe is presently just a pipe dream. It's time to double our nuclear research and development dollars – and that is only just the start of the costs to attempt to manage and close down these old decaying sites.

  • Sickputer

    Just to clarify…the 177 tanks at Hanford Site are not just concrete vaults… They all have carbon steel liners (and some have double carbon steel liners). The war efforts in 1943 precluded the use of stainless steel liners. I am not sure how thick the liners are (anyone else please contribute if you have that information).

    According to this 2001 document prepared for the DOE, 67 of the carbon steel lined tanks have leaked 3.8 million liters of waste:

    Pg. 14

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Depopulation of the useless eaters….what a concept. I think I would rather have a planet populated with 100 billion useless eaters than all the aristocrats that have ever lived. At least a useless eater is not an industrious destroyer. It is getting harder by the day to be a healthy useless eater. Whaaaa !
    I find myself looking for fish in the market that is from the Atlantic. Fish is marked made in China for the most part. Sometime I buy made in Chile fish. Between Hanford leaks and Japanese daily pours, I guess the Pacific really is going to be off limits. That will really help us all out. Overpopulation is not the problem it is the worthless greedy globe eaters that are the problem. Whaaaaa!
    I always thought if I won the lottery I would move back to Washington State or Alaska. It is so beautiful there. By the time I get ahead in this economy and move there, I think the Northwest US may be even more beautiful with its green, green glowing trees and fish.
    What is wrong with those useful eaters? Seriously, they must have a death wish for everyone including themselves. I hope they enjoy their lives in their underground bunkers waiting for a million years to pass. And I wonder if they have nuclear powered survival systems to get them by…where will they dispose of their toxic nuke waste? Some poor slaves sent to the surface to take the waste away. And with each dump another million years in the hole.

    Dumb eaters.Sitting in their hole. Giving each other Nobel…

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Just thinking that maybe we will be cast out of our "Eden" –earth for eating the "forbidden fruit." –nuclear power. I know, I know. I don't think this is off-topic at all. Now what will we do? Can't take us anywhere, huh, God?

    • jec jec

      We already were…and we are now heading to hell.

    • TNMamaBear TNMamaBear

      well I don't think it's off topic at all, unincredulous, because, frankly, between Chernobyl (which is STILL actively leaking and a problem), Fukushima, and our own nuclear horrors being unleashed in the good ol' US of A, AND all the man made virus and bacteria nightmares popping up, we don't even NEED wars and rumors of wars for an apocalyptic reality to be staring us in the face.

      Add into the mix the absolutely unprecedented number of large earthquakes, not two or three pointers but fives and above, hitting us around the globe, and I frankly have to wonder how anyone can continue to deny we are completely screwed if there isn't a God who exists, cares, and will stop this insanity? because it sure does not look like any humans can fix this mess! sheesh!

  • Sol Man

    It is a statement meant to deceive by the deluded: "…contamination…may be making its way to the Columbia River…"
    The tanks lie above the river, so when leaking the pollutants will, naturally flow down toward the lower water level.

    "There is no available technology to plug the leaks…" TPTB have certainly waited long enough to raise the disaster flag.

    It seems that various acid neutralization and vapor/fractional distillation techniques could be utilized to eventually deal with the fluids, unless the witches' brew is so complex to render this possibility moot. A creative use of cryogenics may stop the flow in it's tracks. I am just one howling in the wind.

  • Was the CO2 hysteria whipped up by the nuclear industry and their media puppets? – How else can we explain such massive coverage on CO2 and the way well educated, normal, thinking people were swept up into supporting the building of so many nuclear power plants as "safe clean energy"? Why didn't a majority of them question the very basic fact that there is NO SAFE WAY of disposing of nuclear waste? Aside from all those other pesky safety issues in their daily operation?-

  • Mack Mack

    Excellent 2006 paper on Hanford:

    "Blue plumes of radioactive Cesium 137 (137Cs) and purple to red plumes of radioactive Cobalt 60 (60Co) originated from TY Tank leaks and spills around the tanks. The depths of migration indicate that these plumes have reached groundwater."

    "There has been a fifty fold increase in contamination, from 1996 to 2002, between tanks TY-103 and TY-105"