More nuclear waste leaking in Washington

Feb. 23, 2013 at 8:36 PM

SEATTLE, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says six tanks of radioactive waste have now been determined to be leaking and it could take five years to remedy the situation.

Inslee, who was given the update by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other top DOE officials Friday, said there could be more leaks of what he called a "witches' brew" among the 149 single-shell tanks at the Hanford nuclear site in eastern Washington, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

"Secretary Chu advised me we have six leaking single-shell tanks at the Hanford site, not just one as was previously reported," Inslee said. "The amount of leakage varies from tank to tank.

"There may be more."

Inslee said a new strategy needs to be developed to deal with the radioactive waste being kept at the decades-old, 560-square-mile site that once held 53 million gallons of radioactive waste, the

The first tank confirmed to be leaking, first constructed in 1943-44, still contains more than 440,000 gallons of radioactive sludge.

"We will have to have a system for removing the waste in the most expeditious way possible," Inslee said. "That could take five years or more than five years."

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