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Energy Department to permanently close damaged Hanford tank

A structure is seen May 9, 2017 at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. (Manuel Valdes / Associated Press)
A structure is seen May 9, 2017 at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. (Manuel Valdes / Associated Press)
Associated Press

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Energy Department says it will permanently close a damaged radioactive waste storage tank on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The department says that Tank AY-102 has widespread damage and should not be repaired.

The Tri-City Herald reports that this is the oldest of the double-walled underground tanks at Hanford.

The Energy Department in 2012 revealed that waste from the inner shell of the tank was slowly leaking into the space between its inner and outer shells. No waste is known to have breached the outer shell to reach the environment.

The decision means that Hanford will have 27 newer double-walled tanks to hold waste emptied from 149 leak-prone single-walled tanks.

The waste is left from World War II and Cold War production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

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