The Waste Stored in Hanford's Underground Tanks

Tank waste is a complex combination of radioactive and chemical waste that takes the physical form of liquids, salts and sludge.

Contents of individual tanks are determined from historical processing and waste management records. The tank waste is also periodically sampled and analyzed. Gases or vapors generated by the tank waste accumulate in the tank headspace (area between the waste surface and the tank dome). These vapors are also periodically sampled as to type and concentration.

More than 1,800 chemicals have been identified in the tank waste. Of these, about 1,500 are present in the headspace of the tanks.