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Hanford pumps out contents of leaking nuclear waste tank

In this July 9, 2014, file photo, a sign informs visitors of prohibited items on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
In this July 9, 2014, file photo, a sign informs visitors of prohibited items on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Associated Press

RICHLAND ) – A leaking radioactive waste storage tank on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been pumped of its contents.

The Department of Energy says Tank AY-102 was pumped “to the limits” of current technologies.

The wastes are left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.

Tank AY-102 was taken out of service in 2012 after it was discovered that nuclear waste from the inner tank had leaked into the space between the inner and outer walls of the double-shelled tank. The waste was contained in that space and the Energy Department says there is no sign that any leaked into the environment.

Waste retrieval began last March and 725,000 gallons of radioactive and chemical wastes have been removed. That amounts of 98 percent of the tank’s original waste volume.

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