Nation Briefs

6 underground Hanford nuclear tanks leaking

YAKIMA, Wash. – Six underground tanks that hold a brew of radioactive and toxic waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site are leaking, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday.

The leaks raise new concerns about delays for emptying the tanks at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation, and they strike another blow to federal efforts to clean up the site, where successes often are overshadowed by delays, budget overruns and technological challenges.

State officials just last week announced one of Hanford’s 177 underground tanks was leaking in the range of 150 to 300 gallons a year, posing a risk to groundwater and rivers. So far, nearby wells haven’t detected higher radioactivity levels.

The governor said the leaking material poses no immediate risk to public safety or the environment because it would take a while – perhaps years – to reach groundwater.

Boeing proposes battery fix for 787s

WASHINGTON – Boeing attempted a major step Friday toward getting its 787 Dreamliners flying again, proposing a fix for the plane’s troubled batteries that could allow the flights to resume as early as April, congressional officials said.

The next question is whether the Federal Aviation Administration will agree to let the planes fly even though the root cause of a battery fire in one plane and a smoking battery in another is still unknown.

A Boeing team led by CEO Ray Conner presented the plan to Federal Aviation Administration head Michael Huerta. The airliners, Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced, have not been allowed to fly since mid-January.

The plan – a long-term solution – calls for revamping the aircraft’s two lithium ion batteries to ensure that any short-circuiting that could lead to a fire won’t spread from one battery cell to the others, officials said.

Associated Press