— “Emergency response underway”
— Surge in radioactive leakage after “essentially blowing a hole” in massive tank containing “deadliest substance on earth”
— Former Worker: “I was very shocked to hear it breached that significantly”
Published: April 20th, 2016 at 5:19 pm ET
KING 5 News, Apr 18, 2016 (emphasis added): Leak worsens in massive Hanford tank holding nuclear waste; An emergency response is underway at Hanford, where a tank is leaking radioactive waste —
A leak in a massive nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Site has expanded significantly, KING 5 learned this weekend… one former tank farm worker said the leak should be considered a major problem.
“This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history…” said former Hanford worker Mike Geffre… Until now, the leak found by Geffre was very slow. The liquid would almost immediately dry up…
Sources told KING the disturbance caused by the pumping must have exacerbated the leak: essentially blowing a hole in the aging tankallowing the material to leak more quickly…
“The hazards to workers just went up by a factor of 10,” said Geffre… [A current worker said,]
“There’s always the question, ‘Are the outer shells compromised’”? The accumulation of waste in the outer shell also means the deadliest substance on earth is that much closer to the ground…
KING 5 News transcript, Apr 18, 2016: No one knows if the waste has already leaked into the soil… (Mike Geffre, former Hanford worker): “I was very shocked to hear that the tank had breached that significantly and that much waste had been [leaked?] in that short of time.”
KREM, Apr 18, 2016: ‘Catastrophic’ event at Hanford prompts emergency response; Over the weekend, a leak in a massive nuclear waste storage tank expanded significantly
KREM transcript, Apr 18, 2016: It’s being called a catastrophic leak at the Hanford nuclear site… Mike Geffre a former Hanford employee… told KING 5 that a leak of this magnitude is quote catastrophic… (Official:) “It’s just one more ‘Yes, the tanks are failing.’”
KIRO, Apr 18, 2016: Significant amount of waste leaks within Hanford double-shell tank… So far, no waste has leaked from the tank into the soil beneath it, but checks are ongoing… The DOE says the increased rate of leakage may have occurred because of work inside the tank dislodged material that was partially blocking leak sites.
KVEW, Apr 18, 2016: An alarm activated yesterday while crews were pumping waste from tank AY-102… The Department of Energy notified the state Department of Ecology that a leak detector alarm went off… The alarm indicated an increase in waste seeping from the primary tank into the space between the primary and secondary tank, known as the annulus.
KPLU, Apr 19, 2016: Increased Leakage From Huge Tank of Radioactive Waste At Hanford Sets Off Alarms — An apparent surge in leakage from a huge tank of radioactive waste set off alarms at the Hanford nuclear site… instruments detected a sharp rise of toxic brew in the space between the inner and outer tank walls.
Weather Channel, Apr 19, 2016:‘Catastrophic’ Leak Found in Nuclear Waste Tank at Washington State Storage Site — An ongoing nuclear waste leak in Washington State has rapidly intensified over the past weekend, leaving workers scrambling.
Tri City Herald, Apr 18, 2016:Significant amount of waste leaks within Hanford tank; Leak estimates surge from 70 gallons to 3,000-3,500 gallons… An alarm for a level detector in the annulus sounded about 3:30 a.m. Sunday… It dropped by about three-quarters of an inch… raising the possibility that it might be leaking from the outer shell.
AP, Apr 19, 2016: “We’re continuing our checks of the tank to determine whether any material might be escaping from the tank itself,” said Jerry Holloway of Washington River Protection Solutions, which manages the underground tanks for the U.S. Department of Energy.