Governor Inslee Still Concerned With Hanford Leaks, Other Areas of Site Being Cleaned Up

By Anna King

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday expressed his continuing apprehension over the tank leaks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He says as the Department of Energy and its contractors are evaluating more than 100 tanks with a new set of criteria.

Jay Inslee: “I have real concerns about the remaining single shell tanks as well.”

Separately, Hanford managers said Wednesday they’ve successfully cleaned up a major part of contaminated land just north of Richland. It’s called the 300 Area, as correspondent Anna King explains.

So far, about 50-acres has been cleaned up. That area was riddled with contaminated buildings, and pits in the ground filled with radioactive liquid waste, spills and pipe leaks and a large inventory of other radioactive material. That contaminated rubble and soil was hauled off to central Hanford – further from the Columbia River -- to a mammoth radioactive waste dump. And some of the worst stuff was packed up in sealed canisters and sent to New Mexico.

Crews at the 300 Area have about 50 more acres to clean up in about three years. The most difficult task is eliminating the threat of a building called 324. That facility has highly-radioactive contaminated soil beneath it.

Photos courtesy of Hanford contractor, Washington Closure Hanford


The 300 Area, near the Columbia River, is highly contaminated with radioactive waste pits, buildings and soils. These photos show before and after the cleanup of about 50 acres. There is still about half the project to go in three-years time.

Area before cleanup. Photos courtesy of Hanford contractor, Washington Closure Hanford.
300 Area Before cleanup.

300 Area after cleanup. Photos courtesy of Hanford contractor, Washington Closure Hanford.
300 Area after cleanup.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio

** Austin Jenkins contributed to this report.

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