Regulators say leaking Hanford tanks pose no threat to locals

Feb 28, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Environmental regulators are assuring lawmakers in Olympia that leaking radioactive material from tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has not yet reached ground water. The comments came at a hearing Thursday in the Washington Senate.

Hanford managers have said six single-shelled tanks are leaking nuclear waste.

Sen. Doug Ericksen had two questions for Jane Hedges from the Washington Department of Ecology, “Is there a threat to human health currently because of what’s happening and is this material reaching the Columbia River?

Hedges replied, “Thank you, senator and I’m sorry I didn’t address that. No, there is no threat to anyone at this time: workers on the site, people in the Tri-Cities or in the region.”

Hedges said it will take decades for the leaking waste to reach ground water. Currently, a treatment plant at the Hanford site removes radioactive and chemical impurities from tainted ground water.

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