No radiation reported after collapse of plutonium plant tunnel in Washington

A 20-foot hole in the roof of a tunnel at Washington state's Hanford nuclear waste site will be filled with clean soil, according to the US Department of Energy.

Hanford, which sits almost 200 miles southeast of Seattle, was established by the Manhattan Project during World War II to make plutonium for nuclear weapons, including the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.

The Department of Energy said the affected tunnel was one of two located next to a largely decommissioned Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility known as PUREX.

Washington State Department of Ecology spokesperson Randy Bradbury laid concerns of a possible radiation leak to rest, saying that officials detected that no radiation was released by the tunnel collapse.

The Northwest News Network reported about 3,000 employees work in the 200 East Area.

It said it had activated an emergency operation at the plant at 8:26 am, shortly after an alert was declared. Nearby workers were evacuated.

Now the subject of a long-term environmental cleanup project, it is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States. "The tunnels contain contaminated materials", Energy Department officials in Hanford said in a statement. The tunnels - constructed of wood and concrete and covered with about 2.5 meters of soil - were built to hold rail cars that were loaded with contaminated equipment. Reactors at Hanford produced plutonium used in the first nuclear bomb, as well as the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. A representative for the sprawling site, about 170 miles southeast of Seattle, could not confirm to NBC that a tunnel collapsed, but did note a "take-cover" order was issued.

Hanford was the site of U.S. military plutonium production activities from 1943 until 1987.

Plutonium production ended at the site in the 1980s and cleanup began in 1989.

No workers were inside the tunnel when soil collapsed 2 to 4 feet (half to 1.2 meters) over a 400 sq. foot (37.1 sq. meter) area.

Over the course of its operating lifetime, the facility produced almost 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste that is now stored in 177 underground tanks.

The senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said he is requesting that the Energy Department brief the committee on the root cause of the collapse.

Pallone said the Energy Department should provide details on the implications of the incident on continuing cleanup efforts.

Between 1960 and 1965, eight rail cars were pushed inside one tunnel, full of radioactive waste.

Recommended News

  • Antonio Conte named LMA Manager of the Year

    After a huge disappointment last season, Conte managed to very quickly change the team's attitude and performance, with his no-fuss atmosphere.

    Ariana Grande says she's 'broken' over deadly explosion after Manchester concert

    Because nearby trains have been cancelled, transportation out of the area is hard , and will likely remain so for some time. Video from inside the arena showed concert-goers screaming as they made their way toward exits amid a sea of pink balloons.

    Turkey slams USA arming Syrian Kurds in IS fight

    Mattis acknowledged Turkey's concerns that weapons could end up in the hands of the Kurdish militants in Turkey, known as the PKK. The recent shift has angered Ankara which views the change as a threat to its security.
  • Fatalities in Manchester following incident at Ariana Grande concert

    Dozens of parents frantically searched for their children, posting photos and pleading for information on social media. The anxious mother said Olivia had attended the concert with her school friend who has turned up at a local hospital.
    South Korea fires at North 'object'

    South Korea fires at North 'object'

    Experts say solid fuel engines and mobile launchers make it more hard to detect signs of launch preparations. It also warned additional sanctions against the reclusive country.
    Quaid-e-Azam University shut down after violent clash

    Quaid-e-Azam University shut down after violent clash

    Furthermore, the police have also registered cases against the two groups for creating law and order situation. The FIR states one of the students belonging to the Mehran council was arrested with weapons in his possession.
  • Antonio Conte: Chelsea boss named manager of the year by LMA

    I have to say thanks for their commitment, their attitude and passion, and their will to do something great this season. Brighton finished second to Newcastle in this year's Championship.

    Police confirm 'fatalities' from Ariana Grande concert in England

    In a statement on social media Monday night, the Greater Manchester Police say emergency services are responding to the arena. The Department of Homeland Security said after the explosion that USA citizens should "maintain security awareness".
    France's Macron unveils Cabinet, half of them women

    France's Macron unveils Cabinet, half of them women

    Share with Us - We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article, and smart, constructive criticism. Sylvie Goulard became defence minister and fencing champion Laura Flessel was appointed sports minister.
  • Iran accuses US of 'Iranophobia', arming 'dangerous terrorists'

    Ms Trump gave a three-minute speech in his place, thanking the Saudi royals for their hospitality. On refugees, he praised Lebanon and Turkey for accommodating Syrians fleeing war at home.

    Trump meets Palestine President, urges resumption of peace talks

    At a February 15 press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu the president said "I like the one [solution] both parties like". He also welcomed what he said was Netanyahu's commitment to pursuing peace and renewed his pledge to achieve a deal.

    Trump, Abbas say peace deal with Israel is possible

    Relying on one of his preferred insults, Trump said he would call the perpetrators "losers, because that's what they are". President Donald Trump's first visit to Jerusalem as president is being overshadowed by reminders of tumult back home.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.