Hanford finds higher radiation
Federal officials say liquid radioactive waste may be escaping from a failing storage tank on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Gov. Jay Inslee said he received word of higher levels of radioactivity under the tank in a late night call from U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The governor said it could take several more days of analysis before the source of the radioactivity is verified.
Update 10:48 p.m.: Inslee held a press conference and Crosscut's John Stang reports:
The tank is one of the site's 28 double-shell tanks, which have reached the ends of their designed lives. Hanford has pumped all liquids from its leak-prone 149 single-shell tanks into the 28 newer and safer double-shell tanks. If a leak is confirmed, the tank, called AY-102, will be the first confirmed leaker among the double-shell tanks.
"This raises some very troubling questions," Inslee said. Radioactive gunk was found between AY-102's two shells last summer. The state and the U.S. Department of Energy will meet in July to discuss how to speed up the removal of liquids from Tank AY-102, which is currently scheduled to be pumped out in 2019. There is enough room in the other 27 double-shell tanks to receive the 600,000 gallons of liquids from AY-102, said Maia Bellon, director of the Washington Department of Ecology. Pumping equipment is being installed.
Egyptian Theatre ideas sought
The upcoming closure of the Egyptian Theatre has provoked a rush of groups and individuals who want to make sure the historic venue is put to good use. Seattle Central Community College, which owns the building that houses the theater, said the intense interest — from more than a dozen parties just since Monday's announcement of the closure — has led it to launch a formal request for proposals. The request will go out "within a month," the college said this morning.
Hospital CEO salaries
At least five hospital executives in the state make more than $1 million annually. The leader is Dr. Gary Kaplan, CEO of Virginia Mason in Seattle, at $3.7 million in total compensation (much of it deferred). Health care writer and advocate Kathleen O'Connor, who published the information here, says this is the first year hospitals have had to report salary information to the state Department of Health. The DOH site shows three of the other five $1 million-plus packages were for execs at hospitals outside the Seattle area: Central Washington Medical Center, Wenatchee; Providence Sacred Heart, Spokane; and Providence St. Peter, Olympia. Rich Roodman, who has been CEO of Valley Medical Center in Renton for 30 years, is the other Puget Sound hospital honcho on the million-plus list (at $1.2 million). Why the fat salaries? O'Connor says consumers, not to mention hospital boards of directors, should be asking questions about what the institutions — and their staff and patients — are getting for those million-plus paydays. Indeed.
SAM cancels Tuesdays
The downtown Seattle Art Museum will close on Tuesdays — as well as Mondays — beginning July 1. Friday evening hours are also being dropped. According to the email announcement, the museum will open "on select Monday holidays including Labor Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day." Crosscut's Vanesha Manuturi left messages seeking comment earlier this afternoon but there was no immediate response. The summer closures seem curious, given the reduced opportunity for tourists and locals with out-of-town visitors to see exhibits. Is the home of "Hammering Man" that hammered by financial troubles?
Guilty plea in 520 DUI fatality
A Tacoma man, Michael Anthony Robertson, pleaded guilty today to drunken driving and vehicular homicide in the wrong-way crash that killed Morgan Williams as she drove to work on Highway 520 in April. The Seattle Times reported that Robertson received no concessions and that the King County prosecutor is seeking a 10-and-a-half year sentence, the maximum for the crime under sentencing guidelines. The case helped spark an effort in the Legislature to tighten DUI laws, although any new laws will likely be deferred to next year's session.
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