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Statement of WashPIRG Advocate Micaela Preskill on the recent announcement that a storage tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been leaking radioactive waste:
"The discovery of a radioactive leak at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is a frightening reminder that there is no proven way to safely dispose of nuclear waste. This is not the first time there have been leaks at Hanford. In 2005, after many years of leaks, the public was told that Hanford’s tanks were being drained of most of their toxic liquids and that the tanks would be stabilized. Instead, we’re now finding that these tanks are still a threat. This comes on the heels of last August’s discovery of a leak in one of the newer, supposedly more secure double-shelled tanks at Hanford. These latest failed storage attempts are further proof of the problem.
"Hanford’s proximity to drinking water sources is a particular cause for concern for Washingtonians. In 2012, the WashPIRG Foundation released “Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water,” which determined that roughly 188,000 people get their drinking water from an intake in the Columbia River that is within 50 miles of the Hanford site. While the current leak is reported to not have reached the groundwater, the proximity of Hanford to drinking water sources drives home the need to remove this dangerous waste.
"This latest leak reinforces our call to clean up Hanford more quickly. Until there is a proven way to store nuclear waste without threat, we should place a moratorium on nuclear plants and stop the production of new dangerous waste."
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