Radioactive Waste Still Flooding Columbia River, EPA Says

photo: Radioactive Waste Still Flooding Columbia River, EPA Says

Columbia River in Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington. (Photo via Department of Energy) Kennewick, Wash. (CN)

Groundwater contaminated with radioactive waste from the decommissioned Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state is still “flowing freely” into the Columbia River, a program manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said at a meeting of the Hanford Advisory Board. The announcement came as part of a five-year review of cleanup measures taken at the Superfund site.

Officials with the EPA and the Department of Energy said at a meeting Wednesday that the review showed most of the cleanup actions at Hanford were properly “protective,” meaning the public was shielded from the worst of the site’s estimated 500 million gallons of potentially radioactive waste. Radioactive sludge in shuttered reactors, contaminated soil in landfill sites and equipment that was once used to refine the uranium that fueled the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki were all properly contained, according to the report.

But there was a glaring exception: groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium and strontium-90 was still flowing into the nearby Columbia River, according to a presentation from Mike Cline, director of the Department of Energy’s Soil & Groundwater Division. “Contaminated in-area groundwater is […]

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