TRI-CITIES, Wash. (AP) – A report by the Department of Energy has shown that a decommissioned nuclear site in Washington state could face immediate issues as double-shell tanks holding high-level radioactive waste deteriorate.

The Tri-City Herald reported that the inspector general audit report released Monday said that the underground tanks at the Hanford site are planned to store waste until at least 2047, posing a threat if the deteriorating tanks fail.

The site produced plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War and World War II, leaving 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in underground tanks until it can be treated for disposal.

A major leak could potentially reach groundwater.

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