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Common Dreams

1,000 Gallons of Radioactive Sludge May Be Leaking a Year From Hanford: Governor

Physicist Michio Kaku: It's a 'ticking time-bomb'

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

(Photo: Tony Case / flickr)

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that as much as 1,000 gallons of radioactive sludge may be leaking a year at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the Associated Press reports.

After an initial report of only one tank leaking, last weekend it was confirmed that six single-shelled underground storage tanks are leaking radioactive waste at Hanford, the most contaminated nuclear site in the nation.

Speaking with CBS This Morning on Tuesday, noted theoretical physicist Michio Kaku called the "major emergency problem" at Hanford "scandalous" and a "ticking time bomb," as the nuclear waste seeps from storage tanks into the ground, threatening natural waterways and eventually the drinking water supply. Kaku referred to nuclear waste as a "toxic, witch's brew of chemicals—the most dangerous known to science."

Of the 177 storage tanks at Hanford, 149 are single-shelled, all of which have outlived their 20-year life span.

When news of the leak was announced, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he was "alarmed" and warned, "We can't just leave 149 single-shell tanks with high-level radioactive liquid and sludge sitting in the ground for decades after their design life."

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