London, July 15 : One of the most contaminated site in the US is facing a 'catastrophic' nuclear leak, with more than 210 million litres of radioactive and chemical waste stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford in Washington State at risk.
According to a report in New Scientist, already, 67 of the tanks have failed, leaking almost 4 million litres of waste into the ground.
"There are now serious questions about the tanks' long-term viability," said a Government Accountability Office report, which strongly criticises the US Department of Energy for delaying an 8 billion dollar programme to empty the tanks and treat the waste.
The DoE (Department of Energy) has said that the clean-up is "technically challenging" and argues that it is making progress in such a way as to protect human health and the environment.
"The DoE's plan, however, is faith-based," said Robert Alvarez, an authority on Hanford at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC.
"The risk of catastrophic tank failure will sharply increase as each year goes by, and one of the nation's largest rivers, the Columbia, will be in jeopardy," he added.