Hanford tank waste retrieval resumes

Feb 10, 2011

Crews at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are once again pumping radioactive waste from a World War II era tank. Work had been stopped on the unstable tank buried near the Columbia River.

Workers started pumping radioactive sludge out of tank C-104 this week. Progress was delayed while crews cleared an obstruction and then cleared out a stalled-out pump. Now workers are pumping the sludge out of that single-walled tank into a newer, more stable double-walled tank.

Originally this tank contained about 260,000 gallons of waste. That's about like 20 backyard swimming pools. Workers have already removed about 75% of that waste, but it's the more challenging thick sludgy stuff that remains.

This is the thirteenth tank that the federal Department of Energy has worked to clean up. There are 177 total.