DOE, State Agree to Deal on Leaking Tanks at Hanford
(Richland, WA) -- Both the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Department of Energy say they have a plan responding to two underground tanks that are leaking radioactive waste.
The DOE admitted that Tank B-109 is leaking the waste into the soil surrounding the tank. It joins Tank T-111, which was discovered to be leaking back in 2013. Both agencies have now entered into a legally binding so-called Agreed Order.
Under the agreed order, DOE will:
• Cover the T and B tank farms with surface barriers to prevent rain or snowmelt from
seeping into the tanks, and to slow the migration of leaked waste toward the groundwater.
• Develop a response plan for future leaks from single-shell tanks.
• Evaluate the viability of installing a ventilation system to evaporate liquid waste in Tank B-
• Evaluate conditions in and around tanks B-109 and T-111 to determine if additional work is
needed to prevent liquids from getting in.
• Explore ways to accelerate the schedule to retrieve waste from tanks T-111 and B-109
By the Numbers
Tank B-109 holds about 123,000 gallons of waste; it’s mostly saltcake and sludge, with about 13,000 gallons of residual liquid. T-111 holds an estimated 397,000 gallons of waste; about 37,000 gallons is liquid waste within sludge