The Washington State Department of Ecology has ordered the Federal Government to begin removing radioactive liquid waste from a leaking double-walled tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.  The order requires pumping to begin 18 months soon than the U.S. Department of Energy has proposed.

Tank AY-102 was confirmed to be leaking into the tank’s secondary containment in October 2012. Since then, Ecology has been working with USDOE and their contractor to determine options for addressing the leaking tank. However, after months of discussions, it is clear that the federal government is not willing to address the regulatory requirements to remove the waste in a timely manner.

“In order to meet legal requirements and to provide public health and environmental protection, the state believes this leaking double-shell tank must be addressed in the most aggressive manner possible,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “Waiting another two years, at best, to initiate actions to address this hazardous condition is neither legally acceptable nor environmentally prudent. The state cannot afford further delays on removing waste from this tank.”

Failure to comply with this order could result in fines for the federal government.