Radioactive waste leaking

AT LEAST six underground tanks containing radioactive waste are leaking at a site that was used to make Cold War-era bombs in the US state of Washington.

Authorities in the state are urging more federal help to clean up the site, which first produced fuel for nuclear bombs in World War II and closed 25 years ago

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Radiation leak at US nuclear facility

US state officials say there are six tanks leaking radioactive waste at nuclear storage facility with history of similar leaks in Washington.

Washington's governor, Jay Inslee, said the extent of the leaks at the Hanford Site, more than eight kilometres from the Columbia River, was disturbing.

''There is no immediate or near-term health risk associated with these newly discovered leaks …'' he said, after meeting the US energy secretary, Steven Chu.

''But nonetheless this is disturbing news for all Washingtonians.''

Details of exactly what kind of waste was involved were not immediately available. The Hanford nuclear site, 300 kilometres south-east of Seattle, was used to produce plutonium for the bomb that brought an end to World War II.

Millions of litres of leftover waste is contained in 177 tanks at the site.

Agence France-Presse