AuthorTopic: "This Is Catastrophic" - Thousands Of Gallons Of Radioactive Nuke Puke Leaks  (Read 935 times)

Offline RE

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And this is WITH maintenance!!  Wait until they can't afford the maintenance costs anymore!

RE

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-19/catastrophic-thousands-gallons-radioactive-waste-leak-washington-nuclear-storage-sit

"This Is Catastrophic" - Thousands Of Gallons Of Radioactive Waste Leak At Nuclear Site


The ongoing radioactive leak problems at the Hanford Site, a nuclear storage tank in Washington State, are nothing new.

We first wrote about the ongoing radioative leakage at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, created as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb, in 2013.

 

As a reminder, during the Cold War, the project was expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the 60,000 weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Alas, the site has been leaking ever since, as many of the early safety procedures and waste disposal practices were inadequate and Hanford's operations released significant amounts of radioactive materials into the air and the neighboring Columbia River.

 

Hanford's weapons production reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, but the decades of manufacturing left behind 53 million US gallons of high-level radioactive waste, an additional 25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste, 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath the site and occasional discoveries of undocumented contaminations.

 

The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup. The government spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup — one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. The cleanup is expected to last decades.

However, as Krugman would say, the government was not spending nearly enough, and after a major documented leak in 2013, over the weekend, thousands of gallons of radioactive waste are estimated to have leaked from the Site once again, triggering an alarm and causing one former worker to label it as "catastrophic."

As AP reported, the expanded leak was first detected after an alarm went off at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on Sunday, and on Monday workers were preparing to pump the waste out of the troubled area. They were also trying to determine why the leak became worse.

It’s unclear exactly how much waste spilled out, but estimates place the amount at somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 gallons, according to the Tri-City Herald.

The problem occurred at the double-wall storage tank AY-102, which has the capacity to hold one million gallons of the deadly waste, and which has been leaking since 2011. At the time, the leak was "extremely small", and the waste would dry up almost right after spilling out between the inner and outer walls, leaving a salt-like substance behind.

However, over time the small leak got bigger.

In March, the US Department of Energy began pumping what was left in the storage tank, which originally held some 800,000 gallons of waste. However, after leak detector alarms sounded early Sunday morning, crews at Hanford lowered a camera into the two-foot-wide space between the tank's inner and outer walls. They discovered 8.4 inches of radioactive and chemically toxic waste has seeped into the annulus.


 

Pumping work on the tank has been halted as officials reevaluate the situation and figure out how to get to the leaked radioactive waste. It’s possible that the leak was made worse when the pumping began, but that has not been confirmed.

 

Taking a page right out of the TEPCO playbook, the U.S. Department of Energy released a statement Monday calling the leak an "anticipated" outcome of an ongoing effort to empty the tank in question. The Washington state Department of Ecology said, "There is no indication of waste leaking into the environment or risk to the public at this time."

But one former tank farm worker said the leak should be considered a major problem.

"This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment),” said former Hanford worker Mike Geffre.

He should know: Geffre is the worker who first discovered that the tank, known as AY-102, was failing in 2011. In a 2013 series, “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets," the KING 5 Investigators exposed that the government contractor in charge of the tanks, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), ignored Geffre’s findings for nearly a year. The company finally admitted the problem in 2012.

Another problem: tank AY-102 is just one of 28 double-shell tanks at Hanford (there are 177 underground tanks total) holding nuclear byproducts from nearly four decades of plutonium production on the Hanford Nuclear Site, located near Richland. Initially the plutonium was used to fuel the bombed dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in World War II.

The new leak poses problems on several fronts. The outer shell of AY-102 does not have the exhaust or filtration system needed to keep the dangerous gases created by the waste in check. Workers have been ordered to wear full respiratory safety gear in the area, but the risk remains. And unlike Fukushima where cleanup crews are aware of the danger, in Hanford virtually nobody is aware of the dangers of the radioactive seepage.

 

"The hazards to workers just went up by a factor of 10,” said Geffre.

The breakdown calls into question the viability of three other double-shell tanks at Hanford that have the exact design of AY-102. It is not clear how many of them may have comparable "extremely small" leaks which have gotten bigger, and even if there was it is likely that the DOD would not reveal them.

"The primary tanks weren't designed to stage waste like this for so many years,” said a current worker. “There’s always the question, ‘Are the outer shells compromised’”?

Oh, and let's not forget that the accumulation of waste in the outer shell also means "the deadliest substance on earth is that much closer to the ground surrounding the tank. And currently there is no viable plan in place to take care of it."

Or, as Ben Bernanke would say, the Plutonium is contained.

"It makes me sad that they didn’t believe me that there was a problem in 2011,” said Geffre. “I wish they would have listened to me and reacted faster. Maybe none of this would be happening now. It’s an example of a culture at Hanford of 'We don’t have problems here. We’re doing just fine.’ Which is a total lie,” said Geffre.

Dear Mike, if you think that is bad, you should see what they say about the "markets"...

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Full clip from King5 after the jump
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Offline RE

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Meet the lake so polluted that spending an hour there would kill you
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2016, 05:29:18 PM »
http://grist.org/article/meet-the-lake-so-polluted-that-spending-an-hour-there-would-kill-you/

Meet the lake so polluted that spending an hour there would kill you
By Jess Zimmerman on Oct 3, 2012


Welcome to beautiful Lake Karachay, a Russian lake so tainted by nearby nuclear facilities that it’s considered the most polluted place on the planet. In 1990, just standing on the shore for an hour would give you a radiation dose of 600 roentgen, more than enough to kill you. On the plus side, lakefront property is probably really, really cheap.

You can’t really blame Lake Karachay for acting up — it comes from a really rough area. The lake is located within the Mayak Production Association, one of the largest — and leakiest — nuclear facilities in Russia. The Russian government kept Mayak entirely secret until 1990, and it spent that period of invisibility mainly having nuclear meltdowns and dumping waste into the river. By the time Mayak’s existence was officially acknowledged, there had been a 21 percent increase in cancer incidence, a 25 percent increase in birth defects, and a 41 percent increase in leukemia in the surrounding region of Chelyabinsk. The Techa river, which provided water to nearby villages, was so contaminated that up to 65 percent of locals fell ill with radiation sickness — which the doctors termed “special disease,” because as long as the facility was secret, they weren’t allowed to mention radiation in their diagnoses.


Filling in the lake with concrete.Google Maps

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this shady Siberian nuclear complex wasn’t overly concerned with safety. Besides dumping nuclear material in the lakes and rivers, Mayak also suffered several serious accidents in the 1950s and ’60s — including the time that Lake Karachay dried up and radioactive dust from the lakebed blew all over the nearby villages. But because Mayak and the city that serviced it (originally called Chelyabinsk-40 and then Chelyabinsk-65, both of which sound appropriately like radioactive materials) didn’t even appear on maps, nobody heard about this, including affected locals. Some of the people living nearby were evacuated after these accidents, but many were just left to inhale contaminated dust and drink tainted water.

Lake Karachay is now full of concrete that’s intended to keep radioactive sediment away from shore. Downstream water in the Techa river has almost no radioactive cesium, though you still can’t drink the upstream stuff and the riverbanks will be dangerous for hundreds of years. The Mayak nuclear facility still sucks out loud — it had its operating license revoked in 2003 for dumping waste into open water, surprise surprise — but at least things like “operating licenses” now exist. And today, 20 years after Mayak started appearing on maps again, it’s even possible that you could stand on the shores of Lake Karachay and not die. But we wouldn’t risk it.
Source:
Lake Karachay, Mayak, and Chelyabinsk-40: A Look at the Most Contaminated Place on Earth, Basement Geographer.
In Soviet Russia, Lake Contaminates You, Damn Interesting.
The Most Contaminated Spot on the Planet, Wentz.net.
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Offline Eddie

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Downstream water in the Techa river has almost no radioactive cesium,

Another successful remediation. Nothing to worry about. Move along.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

 

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