Washington Gov. Jay Inslee put the Northwest on alert late Friday, when he revealed that six of the Hanford Nuclear Site's underground waste storage tanks are leaking radioactive and hazardous chemical waste.
Inslee's Friday announcement came one week following his revelation that between 150 and 300 gallons of radioactive material might be seeping from a 65-year-old storage tank.
Inslee said the discovery of additional leaking tanks was "disturbing news," and while the U.S. Department of Energy would not confirm that the six tanks are leaking, the Tri-City Herald reports this morning that the federal agency has acknowledged declining levels of liquid in the tanks. Inslee said a new method of removing the waste is needed, but will take time to develop. In the meantime, Inslee and DOE officials said the leaks pose no imminent health risk.
The Herald reports that the leaks "are the latest in a string of setbacks" at Hanford. In October 2012, the DOE confirmed that one of the facility's 28 double-shell tanks was leaking and that work at Hanford's vitrification plant has been halted.