Oregon Senator Wants Answers on Leaking Hanford Tanks
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, (D) toured the Hanford Tank Farm area, trying to get answers and information about recent news of leaks from tank AY-102 and possible leakage from tank AY-101. They're two of the oldest double-shell tanks holding toxic waste at the site.
Wyden, along with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, are planning to address the recent spate of some 42 Hanford workers who in recent weeks have been treated after smelling fumes and odors while working on the tanks. Many experienced headaches, dizziness and other symptoms.
Ferguson and Wyden are demanding the DOE and federal government address what's causing the illnesses. Wyden, during a Thursday tour and brief press conference that followed, also asked why after 20 years and nearly $19 billion dollars, none of the millions of gallons of waste has been treated. While praising the workers at Hanford, and those working to cleanup the area, he also said there have to be results.
He also asked officials why there haven't been inspections of the bottom tank AY-102 and others to confirm they aren't leaking, and look for possible issues. Hanford officials told him such technology doesn't exist. Much of the reason is because machinery would have to be designed that could stand up to the excessive levels of radiation and toxic waste exposure inside the tanks.
Part of the reason Wyden visited Hanford was to meet with Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is exploring more legal options to force the Department of Energy and federal government to quickly look at why Hanford workers have been getting sick in alarming numbers lately.