Unexpected gas releases from Hanford tank

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 4 at 6:24 PM

KING 5 News has learned there’s been a series of unexpected hydrogen gas releases from a tank holding radioactive waste at Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Confidential sources say it began on March 16 and lasted for several days, much longer than usual, and they worry a single spark could have set off an explosive release of radioactivity.  

This comes two days after a report by a government panel expressing concerns about the release of flammable gasses at Hanford and the government's inability to respond to them.

Our confidential sources and government representatives are giving dramatically different versions of what has happened. Both agre a million-gallon tank holding nuclear waste at Hanford had a build-up of hydrogen gas.

Our confidential sources say it was of a magnitude larger than anything teams there have seen in at least two years and "burped" days longer than normal.
  
Workers who toil above the buried Hanford tank farms constantly monitor the tanks for gas build-ups and will conduct controlled releases to reduce pressure. We're told this was a spontaenous release, not controlled.

Hydrogen gas is constantly being produced in some tanks by the extremely high temperatures of nuclear waste. They are like dozens of underground crock pots just simmering away. Sometimes, they can boil over.

 

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