Tank Leaks

Columbia Riverkeeper works to create public spaces to raise awareness about pertinent issues at the Hanford Nuclear Site.

The U.S. Department of Energy (Energy) and the U.S. Department of Ecology (Ecology) should move swiftly to implement and accelerate efforts to prevent future tank leaks at Hanford, respond to leaks where they occur, and address tanks that have already failed.

Columbia Riverkeeper will continue to push for accountability and funding in this area. Washington State must hold Energy accountable for the threat posed by high level waste in decades-old tanks. Without adequate funding, tank waste issues and other aging infrastructure problems on site will become more dangerous and difficult as additional tanks fail.

Source: Hanford Nuclear Site

The Issues: Tanks B-109 and T-111 at Hanford contain some of the most toxic, radioactive substances on Earth, and they are leaking this high-level waste into the soil beneath Hanford. The tanks contain large quantities of radioactive cesium, strontium, plutonium, and other contaminants. The agencies have been aware of the potential for leaks for years, but the recent discovery of additional leaking tanks compounds the problem and demonstrates the need for urgent action to address existing—and to prevent future—leaks. 

Status: Startup of the Waste Treatment Plant took a big step in 2023 with the first successful effort to produce glass from non-radioactive test material, but there were also challenges with tank waste treatment.

Media Inquiries: Contact Communications & Marketing Director Liz Terhaar (liz@columbiariverkeeper.org).