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Senator Blasts DOE for Stalling on Hanford Tank Problems

A new government watchdog report on continuing troubles at the old Hanford Nuclear Reservation drew a demand for immediate action from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. The Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday faulted the Department of Energy schedule for managing leaking storage tanks at Hanford.

The government auditors found that the older single-shell underground tanks and even the newer double-shell tanks filled with radioactive waste continue to deteriorate. 

Even though the Energy Department agreed with the GAO conclusions, Wyden promptly fired off a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to do something about the tanks right away. As he put it -"The DOE's watch and wait strategy for these tanks leaking nuclear waste into the soil is completely unacceptable."

Wyden demanded a plan of action and a schedule within 90 days.

The GAO report said that with one delay after another in construction of a plant to convert the liquid waste into glass-like logs, the Energy Department cannot be sure how long its double walled tanks can safely store the radioactive waste.

Wyden had originally asked for a report on Hanford tank safety after the DOE found more leaks nearly two years ago.

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