Inslee: Leaking Tank Waste Removal Can't Begin For Years

Mar 7, 2013
Originally published on March 6, 2013 10:21 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says it may take two to four years to begin removing liquids from leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Democratic governor made the comments Wednesday after a tour of the southeast Washington site.

The governor told reporters on the tour that there is no technology that can stop the leaks.

“The bad news is that unfortunately there will be some continuing leakage in these tanks while we’re experiencing this. However, there is a very active pump and treating system -- you may have seen as we were driving by -- a brand new pump and treat system that is showing great success.”

That treatment system pumps out contaminated groundwater at Hanford and replaces it with water that meets regulatory standards.

Separately, Wednesday, the Department of Energy announced that salt caves in the New Mexico desert are its preferred resting place for a small portion of Hanford's radioactive tank waste.

After his tour, Inslee told me in an interview that he views the leaking tanks at Hanford as urgent as if they were spilling out into his front lawn.

“I’m going to do everything humanly possible to move as quickly as humanly possible. In regard to these leaking tanks I think this is the fastest thing technologically possible and that is what we should demand,” Inslee said.

Here more of the interview: 

One the Web:

Gov. Inslee's statement on Hanford tank waste - Office of the Governor

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