Tunnel with nuclear waste collapses in Washington state

Tunnel with nuclear waste collapses in Washington state

It is now being dismantled and cleaned up by the Energy Department. The breached tunnel was used to "bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium", Inslee said.

A statement by the US Department of Energy said personnel at the facility were evacuated and workers in potentially affected areas had gone indoors. The tunnels were constructed of wood and concrete with a soil covering approximately 8 feet deep. A site area emergency is limited to the boundaries of the Hanford site but could affect staff beyond the immediate facility.

The building, which extends 40 feet below ground and is more than six stories tall, has been vacant for almost 20 years but remains highly contaminated. The collapse occurred in the center of the site in what is being called a very "high hazard operation".

"There are no reports of injuries, no reports of radiological release", said Deputy Hanford News Manager Destry Henderson, adding that the incident took place in a small area of the site, NBC News reported.

[Alvarez] said that the rail cars carry spent fuel from a reactor area along the river to the chemical processing facility, which then extracts risky plutonium and uranium.

Hanford, which is roughly half the size of Rhode Island, spent decades making plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal. The TALON device allows crews to safely survey potential areas of contamination from a distance of up to ½ mile. Ten years ago, some press reports stated, the plant contained two-thirds of the high-level radioactive waste in the United States.




Robots were being used to determine possible air contamination. They rest on reinforced concrete footings. Today, the site has leaked more than 1 million gallons of radioactive material into the surrounding earth.

Hanford produced plutonium fuel for the U.S. military for four decades, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Mostly decommissioned, Hanford has been a subject of controversy and conflict between state and local authorities, including a lawsuit over worker safety and ongoing cleanup delays. "It's possible that at some point the soil above them was going to give in", Heeter said. "Five huge plants in the center of the Hanford Site processed 110,000 tons of fuel from the reactors, discharging an estimated 450 billion gallons of liquids to soil disposal sites and 53 million gallons of radioactive waste to 177 large underground tanks".

"The Hanford Fire Department is on scene", the Department of Energy reports.

Ferguson said that since the early 1980s, hundreds of workers have been exposed to vapors escaping from the tanks and that those breathing the vapors developed nosebleeds, chest and lung pain, headaches, coughing, sore throats, irritated eyes and difficulty breathing.

Last year a new legal deadline required the Department of Energy to work toward assessing the waste disposal tunnels by September of this year. The building has been vacant for almost twenty years but remains highly contaminated, according to the Department of Energy.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bouchard stuns Sharapova to set up Kerber clash, Pliskova out
May 10, 2017 - 03:54
The Canadian came through a thrilling encounter with Sharapova, winning 7-5 2-6 6-4 after nearly three hours on court. Neither player was prepared to give ground in the decider as Sharapova survived five break points in the fifth game.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top This guy broke a Twitter record with his love for chicken nuggets
May 10, 2017 - 03:49
In April, Carter Wilkerson asked Wendy's how many retweets he'd need to get free chicken nuggets for a year. The fast-food chain told him 18 million, and Wilkerson told them to "Consider it done".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Death sentences upheld after brutal India gang rape
May 09, 2017 - 00:59
The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern succumbed to injuries and her rape case was something that got the tag- "rarest of the rare". Their daughter, too, will now rest in peace, Mr Singh, and his wife Asha Devi , told Press Trust of India after the judgment.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Harman Kardon Invoke, Microsoft Cortana powered speaker teased
May 09, 2017 - 00:43
It can also be used to set reminders, check the traffic on your way to work, and control connected appliances in your smart home. To compete with Google Home and Amazon Echo, the Invoke has a familiar design design with a cylindrical form factor.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Chibok schoolgirls were swapped for 5 Boko Haram commanders
May 09, 2017 - 00:42
Some parents did not live long enough to see their daughters released, underscoring the tragedy of the three-year saga. Neither the government nor Boko Haram, which has links to the Islamic State group, gave details about the exchange.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Frost advisory issued for London, most of southwestern Ontario
May 09, 2017 - 00:42
Temperatures are projected to drop to the low to mid 30s Tuesday morning, which could cause damage to tender vegetation. Clouds, a slight breeze, urbanization or proximity to water protect many areas from a frost.

Syria fighting eases as safe zones plan begins
May 09, 2017 - 00:42
The U.S. and Russian Federation signed the memorandum in 2015 when Russian Federation began its air operations in the country. But he stressed Russia's air force would continue striking militants from the Islamic State (IS) group elsewhere in Syria.

Trump to announce federal court nominees
May 09, 2017 - 00:34
But while a revised ban was later released, that too was blocked by the courts. It would take congressional action to break up the 9th U.S.

Beyond 100 days, Trump faces more legislative challenges
May 09, 2017 - 00:29
After serving as commander in chief for 100 days, his achievements, as well as shortfalls, were being closely scrutinized. Trump entered the arena and said there is no place he'd rather be than in Pennsylvania to celebrate his 100th day.

Thomas scores 53, Celtics beat Wizards 129-119 in OT
May 09, 2017 - 00:27
Kevin Durant added 15 points on an uncharacteristically cold shooting night at 6 for 14 and also five rebounds and five assists. Utah missed its initial six shots and fell behind 9-0 before Gobert's three-point play at the 7:48 mark of the first.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Family want officer who shot black teen charged with crime
May 09, 2017 - 00:12
The family later said that while they are grateful that Oliver has been fired, "there remains a long road ahead". The family has called for murder charges to be brought against Oliver.

First Formula 1 win 'surreal' for Valtteri Bottas
May 09, 2017 - 00:04
Bottas concedes that the first win has take a while, but he is now looking forward to more as he has learnt the trick. The gap dropped even further in the closing slaps as Vettel started putting in some blistering lap times.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top James helps Cavs hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round
May 07, 2017 - 13:52
Turning Point - In Game 2, it was Kevin Love who took over in the third quarter and gave the Cavaliers a boost after intermission. Despite the sweep, it was a closer series than most people realize considering each game was a six point deficit or less.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top French stocks soar to near-decade highs as Macron tops poll
May 07, 2017 - 13:47
She added, "So I am afraid I didn't define Emmanuel as ... the hope of a generation but the fact of seeing European and French flags together".

Red Sox fan permanently banned from Fenway for using racial slur
May 07, 2017 - 13:44
And Sabathia added, to Erik Boland of Newsday, that he'd never been called "the N-word" anywhere but Boston . But James knew about the message posted on Twitter by Mookie Betts of the Red Sox .