Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking him to convene an independent panel to investigate a "large amount of waste in an outer tank" that was discovered Sunday. The letter also asks the Energy Department to re-assess the safety risks associated with the remaining double shell tanks that contain radioactive waste. Wyden says the exact cause of the sudden leakage is unknown.
"It goes without saying that citizens in Oregon and I are concerned about this situation especially given the fact that previous analyses of this tank and other double-shell tanks have raised numerous design and construction concerns and the exact cause of the original AY-102 leaks has never been determined," Wyden stated.
The double-shell tanks provide for long term storage of high level waste with a much greater level of safety than single-shell tanks previously used. However, tanks AY-101 and AY-102 have surpassed their 40 year design life when the leaks were detected Sunday.
"In the immediate term, citizens of the Northwest need to be assured that there is no immediate danger from the conditions in tank AY-102 and from any continuation of retrieval operations. In the longer term, the cause of all of the leaks in this tank must be determined and the risk of failures in the remaining double-shell tanks should be reassessed." Picture: Columbia River Keepers.