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Nuclear Waste from Bomb Production Contaminating Groundwater in Hanford, WA

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nuclear-waste-hanfordTanks containing nuclear waste resulted from the production of U.S. nuclear bombs are now a potential hazard for the environment, despite the DoE saying they’re secure.

177 ageing containers at the Hanford Site in Washington store two thirds of the country’s nuclear waste – 200 million liters of radioactive sludge. Our of the 177, 67 have had leaks in the past.

The biggest fear that environmental scientists have right now is that heat-generating isotopes are corroding the bottoms of the tanks. The isotopes collected on the bottom of the tanks because the liquid waste had been previously drained off.

Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge, an environmental watchdog in Seattle, says that the nuclear waste has already contaminated groundwater.

A DoE spokeswoman’s words, however, sound reassuring: “There is no immediate public health risk.”

Question: What does “immediate” mean?

image (c) thedailybeast

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