High Contamination Levels Don’t Guarantee Tank Leakage
According to news reports, Hanford tank farm workers using devises to inspect and measure contamination levels between the double shells of a waste storage tank found 3x the 'normal' level of contamination. But sources tell Newstalk870, that does NOT necessarily mean there's a leak. The tank in question was AZ-101.
According to Washington River Protection Services and KNDU-TV, workers last Friday were using a crawler do inspect the annulus, or space between the double shell walls. When the crawler, which is like a mini tank with video camera and sensors, came out, it had three times to previous, or 'normal expected' levels of contamination.
The workers who were onsite left, per protocol, and one worker was found to have raised contamination on their suit. After removing the suits and cleaning, the worker didn't show any evidence of contamination on their body.
Officials say the air contamination monitor alarm did trigger, but sensors who's purpose is to detect leaks did not.
Many national media sources have run with the idea, and they have claimed the levels mean there's a leak. The same thread has been pursued by State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
However, a source has told Newstalk870 that while the raised levels are of concern, it doesn't automatically mean there's leaking radioactive material which caused it. There are numerous ways the levels could have been raised. Much more investigation and observation will be needed to determine what exactly is happening to cause the raised levels of contamination.