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US state sounds alarm over nuclear waste leaks from six tanks

Published on Feb 23, 2013 9:54 AM

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - At least six tanks containing radioactive waste in the US state of Washington are leaking, the state said Friday, urging more federal help to clean up a site used to make Cold War-era bombs.

Washington governor Jay Inslee said that the extent of the leaks at the Hanford site - which first produced fuel for nuclear bombs in World War II and closed down 25 years ago - was "disturbing."

The Hanford nuclear site, 300 km southeast of Seattle, was used to produce plutonium for the bomb that brought an end to World War II.

Output grew after 1945 to meet the challenges of the Cold War, but the last reactor closed down in 1987. Its website says: "Weapons production processes left solid and liquid wastes that posed a risk to the local environment."

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