(Richland, WA) -- Both the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Department of Energy say they have a plan responding to two underground tanks that are leaking radioactive waste.

The DOE admitted that Tank B-109 is leaking the waste into the soil surrounding the tank. It joins Tank T-111, which was discovered to be leaking back in 2013. Both agencies have now entered into a legally binding so-called Agreed Order.

Under the agreed order, DOE will:

Cover the T and B tank farms with surface barriers to prevent rain or snowmelt from

seeping into the tanks, and to slow the migration of leaked waste toward the groundwater.

Develop a response plan for future leaks from single-shell tanks.

Evaluate the viability of installing a ventilation system to evaporate liquid waste in Tank B-

Evaluate conditions in and around tanks B-109 and T-111 to determine if additional work is

needed to prevent liquids from getting in.

Explore ways to accelerate the schedule to retrieve waste from tanks T-111 and B-109

By the Numbers

Tank B-109 holds about 123,000 gallons of waste; it’s mostly saltcake and sludge, with about 13,000 gallons of residual liquid. T-111 holds an estimated 397,000 gallons of waste; about 37,000 gallons is liquid waste within sludge

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