Tunnel collapse renews safety concerns about nuclear site

"The approximately 360-foot-long tunnel where the partial collapse occurred contains eight rail cars loaded with contaminated equipment", the Energy department said.

"They've laid some gravel down on which heavy equipment will operate today to begin placing the soil, slowly and methodically in the caved-in portion of that tunnel", he said.

The Department of Energy issued a statement saying no action was necessary for residents of Benton and Franklin County.

Henderson said most employees had been told to stay home Wednesday out of an abundance of caution.

Collier

But GAO complained that the energy department's preliminary cost and schedule estimates for the construction are "not reliable" because they "do not meet industry best practices for reliable cost and schedule estimates". It was one of the original Manhattan Project sites.

Broadcastify provided the following audio from an emergency dispatch shortly after the incident: "Dirt collapsed into the tunnel". No radiation leak has been detected and no release of contamination has been determined according to a Hanford Site press release release.

The Energy Secretary Rick Perry said 'everyone has been accounted for and there is no initial indication of any worker exposure or an airborne radiological release'.

The agency says it is too early to say what caused the cave-in. The cause of the breech is still under investigation, and responders continue to monitor the area.

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"There was no natural disaster".

"I am extremely concerned about what happened yesterday and how the Department of Energy can give us confidence that this will not happen again", Inslee said at a news conference.

"This is a serious situation", he said.

"At that point.an emergency was declared and about half a dozen employees at the facility were evacuated", he said. But he said that by and large the facilities there, like others nationwide, were holding up very well. There was an emergency situation at this site in Washington state after a tunnel full of highly contaminated materials collapsed. He said they would have been contaminated in the 1950s during the production of plutonium. Its nine nuclear reactors irradiated uranium fuel rods.

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Safely removing it now is proving enormously expensive, slow-going, extraordinarily risky and so complex that much of the technology required simply does not exist. Hanford's budget this year alone is about $2.3 billion, with much of that going to treating liquid nuclear waste.

"The temporary solutions DOE has used for decades to contain radioactive waste at Hanford have limited lifespans", said Sen.

The site was previously used as the prime area to produce nuclear arsenal production for the United States, but later this site was closed and turned into a deposit depot of various nuclear wastes. Hanford is often described as the most polluted site in the country. Hanford is now the biggest reservoir of radioactive defense waste which must be cleaned.

Hanford is one of several active sites undergoing cleanup under the direction of the Department of Energy's Office of Environment Management.

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