Underground Nuclear Tanks Leaking in Washington State via NY Times

SEATTLE — Six underground tanks holding radioactive waste are leaking at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee said on Friday after a meeting with federal officials overseeing the cleanup of the nation’s most polluted nuclear site.

One tank was already known to have a leak, but the new revelation caught state officials by surprise, said David Postman, a spokesman for the governor. He said that federal managers had assured the governor that the leaks posed no health risks or threats to the water supply, including the Columbia River, which passes nearby.

But Mr. Postman said it was also unclear how long the additional tanks have been leaking. What federal officials called a “data analysis” revealed the problem, Mr. Postman said. Hanford was built in the 1940s for the Manhattan Project, then continued on for decades through the cold war as a manufacturing site for the nuclear arsenal.

The Department of Energy, Mr. Inslee said in a statement, “did not adequately analyze data it had that would have shown the other tanks that are leaking.”

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