Hey Obama...how about packaging these tanks and just send them by FedEx to North Korea.....
Board warns key US senator of explosion risk at nation's most contaminated nuclear siteBy | Associated Press – 8 hrs ago
Those issues are likely to come up during confirmation hearings next week for Energy Secretary-nominee Ernest J. Moniz. The fears of explosion and contamination could give Washington and Oregon officials more clout as they push for cleanup of the World War II-era site.
Central to the cleanup is the removal of 56 million gallons of highly radioactive, toxic waste left from plutonium production from underground tanks. Many of the site's single-shell tanks, which have just one wall, have leaked in the past, and state and federal officials announced in February that six such tanks are leaking anew.
In addition to the leaks, the board noted concerns about the potential for hydrogen gas buildup within a tank, in particular those with a double wall, which contain deadly waste that was previously pumped out of the leaking single-shell tanks.
"All the double-shell tanks contain waste that continuously generates some flammable gas," the board said. "This gas will eventually reach flammable conditions if adequate ventilation is not provided."
All of the tanks are actively ventilated, which means they have blowers and fans to prevent a buildup of hydrogen gas, and those systems are monitored to ensure they are operating as intended, Energy Department spokeswoman Carrie Meyer said.
For even greater safety, she said, the agency implemented an improved monitoring system in February.
"DOE is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety of Hanford's underground tanks," Meyer said.
The board also noted technical challenges with the waste treatment plant, which is being built to encase the waste in glasslike logs for long-term disposal. Those challenges must be resolved before parts of the plant can be completed, the board said.
The federal government spends about $2 billion annually on Hanford cleanup — roughly one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. About $690 million of that goes toward design and construction of the plant. Design of the plant, last estimated at more than $12.3 billion, is 85 percent complete, while construction is more than 50 percent complete.
The problems identified by the board show that the plant schedule will be delayed further and the cost will keep rising, Wyden said, adding: "There is a real question as to whether the plant, as currently designed, will work at all."