A radioactive waste leak from an underground reservoir from World War II has occurred in the U.S. state of Washington. The statement of the US Department of Energy is published by Associated Press.
Water is believed to be leaking into the ground from the B-109 tank on the Hanford Reservation, contaminated with plutonium production waste for nuclear weapons. Department spokesman Jeff Tyree said there is no increased risk to public health and safety from what happened. “Contamination in this area is not new, and mitigation measures have been in place for decades,” he stressed.
The state Department of Ecology said 13 liters of contaminated water leaked from the tank a day. The department spokesman added that the incident proves “a critical need for resources to address Hanford’s aging facilities,” which will pose an increasing threat over time.
The B-109 tank has a capacity of 465,000 liters, but most of the liquid was previously pumped out of it, so at this point, a small amount of waste remains there. The leak is believed to have started back in 2019. There are 149 similar facilities at the landfill, many of which are believed to be susceptible to damage. The tanks were built during the Manhattan Project.
Hanford produced most of the plutonium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki in 1945 was also created there. The Hanford Site is now the most dangerous in the country.
“Project Manhattan” was the code name for the U.S. nuclear weapons program, which began on August 13, 1942