Federal energy agency offers plan for leaking Hanford tank

RICHLAND — The U.S. Department of Energy has given the state of Washington a plan for emptying a leaking nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The Tri-City Herald reported that while the Energy Department will start buying equipment and making other plans to remove the radioactive sludge from the double-shell tank with a leak between its shells, actual waste pumping would start no sooner than March 2016.

The plan for emptying Tank AY-102 was given to the state near the close of business Friday. The state has not yet reviewed the plan to comment on it.

The newspaper says DOE already has equipment in place to remove liquid waste from the tank. But according to the plan, no waste would be pumped until the Energy Department is ready to proceed with liquid and sludge removal.

No waste is believed to have escaped into the soil beneath the tank. Hanford authorities have known the tank was leaking for about a year.

State officials have urged the Energy Department to empty the tank and have criticized federal officials for not taking action.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com

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