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Goals of the Inspection for the Buried Nuclear Waste Tanks

Underground double-shell waste storage tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, WA are periodically inspected and assess through a comprehensive integrity program, including visual inspection, ultrasonic testing, waste sampling, waste compatibility programs, electro-chemical corrosion testing, and structural dome loading. Despite the capability of the program to periodically examine regions of the tank to monitor integrity, the bottom of the tanks has gone largely uninspected through the life of the tanks, resulting in limited knowledge of ongoing phenomenon. One of 28 double-shell tanks at Hanford was discovered to be leaking from its primary containment to its secondary containment in late 2012. This discovery highlighted a need to seek and develop new technology to expand our inspection scope to include this previously inaccessible primary tank bottom region. This effort has been ongoing in recent years to develop and deploy visual and volumetric inspection capability to meet the inspection challenge.

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