Legal Agreement To Address Hanford’s Leaking Tanks Finalized

Buildings on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation along the Columbia River are seen from the Hanford Reach National Monument near Richland, Wash.
The Hanford Site sits along the Columbia River near Richland, Wash., 35 miles from the Oregon border.


Federal and Washington state agencies finalized an agreement last week to address two leaking underground tanks at central Washington’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Correspondent Lauren Paterson reports.

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The U-S Department of Energy announced in April 2021 that Tank B-109 is leaking toxic, radioactive waste into the soil. Tank T-111 was found to be leaking in 2013.

The agency and the Washington Department of Ecology now have a legally binding order to cover those tanks, explore new ways to remove the waste, and develop a response plan for future leaks.

David Bowen is the Nuclear Waste Program Manager. He says he and his team are going to continue to push the feds for more cleanup funding.

“We’re going to continue to both ensure Energy cleans up the site and progresses in a timely and safe manner, and push President Biden and Congress to give Hanford the funding it deserves to protect the river and all those who rely on it,” he said.

Bowen says state scientists estimate the leaking waste will reach groundwater in about 25 years.