KING 5 has learned that the U.S. Dept. of Energy committed itself to a June 14 deadline to deliver a plan explaining how it will pump out a leaking double-shell tank at the Hanford Site containing highly radioactive waste. That plan, DOE said, is likely to be limited to increased monitoring for the time being while additional studies of the tank's condition are completed.
The leaking tank has been the subject of a series of reports by the KING 5 Investigators showing how the Energy Department and the private company managing the Hanford tank farms ignored evidence of the leak for a year, even hiding definitive proof from a citizen advisory panel.
In a May 6 letter to the Washington State Dept. of Ecology, DOE and the private contractor managing the tank said they want to revise the emergency pumping requirement, citing a number of safety concerns.
The DOE's Office of River Protection "will provide a 241-AY-102 primary tank pumping plan to Ecology by June 14, 2013, which will include the steps necessary to remove the entire contents of the tank including sludge," the letter says.
But the authors request a meeting with Ecology "to discuss potential revisions" to the pumping guide.
In an attachment to the letter, DOE and the contractor say that the emergency pumping guide did not account for a situation like the one that occurred with 241-AY-102.
Read the full text of the letter.