Leaking Nuclear Sludge - Washington State USA

Since the Japanese accident people have been a little less positive about the safety of the Nuclear industry and the huge costs associated with install and clean up.  In the US this appears to be coming home to roost again with a $13billion dollar bill for a facility constructed in the 1940's associated with plutonium production for Nuclear arms.

A storage tank at a shuttered federal nuclear facility in Washington state is believed to have leaked 300 gallons of radioactive sludge and has raised fears that the toxic stew could reach the Columbia River as a U.S. cleanup effort drags on for decades.

“The great concern is these tanks have the most dangerous waste of all,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “They were constantly reassuring us that there is no leaking. This announcement is alarming.”

The Energy Department announced last week that  this tank is just one of 177 tanks stored underground that collectively hold about 56 million gallons of waste, enough to fill a football field to a depth of 150 feet.

The GAO, Congress’s investigative arm, issued a December report warning of more delays and cost increases in the project to develop a waste reprocessing facility on site.  Technical challenges in handling the highly radioactive waste means the process won’t be completed for decades.

The estimated price tag of $13.4 billion is about three times the original projected cost !