Tuesday, May 9, 2017

“Emergency” Declared at WA Nuclear Waste Facility — “Take Cover” Orders Issued


(RT) The US Department of Energy has declared an emergency at the Hanford, Washington nuclear waste storage site, after a tunnel used to store contaminated materials caved in.


Related 2-Billion-Year-Old Nuclear Mega-Reactor Discovered in Africa

Source - The Free Thought Project

by RT Staff Writer, May 9th, 2017

About 3,000 workers have taken cover at the 200 East Area of the sprawling complex, local media reported. By 10:30 am local time, the “take cover” orders have been expanded to the entire site, which is about half the size of Rhode Island.

A portion of a tunnel near the plutonium-uranium extraction plant (PUREX) collapsed early Tuesday morning local time, most likely from vibrations produced by nearby road work, KING-TV reported.

Initial reports spoke of a 4-foot (1.2 meter) hole, which was later expanded to 20 feet (6 meters) across.




The tunnel was used to store highly radioactive materials and equipment, such as trains used to transport nuclear fuel rods.
The PUREX facility was built in the 1950s and used until 1988 to extract plutonium from around 70,000 fuel rods in total. The building has been vacant for nearly twenty years and “remains highly contaminated,”according to the Hanford website. Rail cars used to transport the fuel rods from the nuclear reactors to the processing facility are buried inside the nearby tunnels.
No workers were injured in the collapse, and officials have detected no release of radiation, Washington state Department of Ecology spokesman Randy Bradbury told AP.




Workers at the complex have been ordered to stay indoors and refrain from eating and drinking, according to text alerts seen by local media. Emergency crews are organizing the evacuation.
Emergency measures were put in place due to “concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels,” says a statement posted on the Hanford facility website.

Residents of the nearby Benton and Franklin counties do not need to take any action, the facility said.
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