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 Washington nuclear power facility leaking 1,000 gallons per year of radioactive waste

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PostSubject: Washington nuclear power facility leaking 1,000 gallons per year of radioactive waste   Thu 28 Mar 2013, 21:01


More than 250 employees axed from Washington nuclear power facility leaking 1,000 gallons per year of radioactive waste


(NaturalNews) Federal budget cuts have prompted the layoff of at least
235 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southern Washington, a
massive 586-square-mile storage site for radioactive waste located near
Richland. But according to the Associated Press (AP), aging
underground storage tanks at the facility are estimated to be leaking
some 1,000 gallons of radioactive waste into the ground every single
year, a serious environmental threat that has many questioning why the
government would cut funding for this important mitigation project.

As reported by Tri-CityHerald.com,
the cuts were made as part of sequestration by the federal government,
or the automatic budget trimming of certain federal programs, and
include primarily union positions. But some 27 non-union positions were
also cut, and several thousand other contracted workers could also lose
their jobs soon as a result of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contractors cutting back on the work they assign to their subcontractors.

The
Hanford facility was originally created by the federal government back
in the 1940s as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project to develop and
build the atomic bomb, according to the Associated Press. But
after the facility stopped producing nuclear weapons after the Cold War,
Hanford became the nation's largest and most complex environmental
clean-up project, costing American taxpayers roughly $2 billion a year,
or one-third of the country's entire budget for nuclear clean-up efforts nationwide.

"You
can't furlough 20 percent of the workforce without having an impact on
the work," Gary Petersen from the Tri-City Development Council is quoted
as saying to AP. "There's no question that the longer you delay clean-up, the longer it's going to take and the higher the cost."

More than a dozen Hanford nuclear waste storage tanks believed to be leaking

The
situation hardly bodes well in light of more recent discoveries that at
least 1,000 gallons of nuclear waste are seeping from several of the
underground nuclear waste storage tanks at Hanford. Early assessments
have pinned six of the 177 underground tanks, most of which are now
dangerously antiquated, as having leaks. But a more recent report from OregonLive.com explains that DOE may have identified at least 14 others that are also seeping nuclear waste.

In
a letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Daniel Poneman from DOE
warned that the furloughs and layoffs could severely delay progress
towards fixing the leaking
tanks -- according to the latest estimates, nearly 5,000 Hanford
employees, both permanent and contracted, are being either laid off or
put on temporary furlough. Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber are
both recommending that new storage tanks be installed to stop the leaks
and prevent further problems.

"It all illustrates more and more
clearly that we need to get the waste treatment plant completed and
operating," said Ken Niles, director of the Oregon Department of Energy
(ODOE) division that manages clean-up efforts at Hanford, about
now-delayed efforts to construct a $13.4 billion waste treatment plant
that will be used to safely store nuclear waste at the site.

"We
do need some additional storage capacity," he added, "and we certainly
need more money than Congress is at the moment willing to spend on
Hanford."

Source:-
http://www.naturalnews.com/039679_nuclear_power_plant_radiation_leak_radioactive_waste.html
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