Breaking News Hanford Workers Being Told to Take Cover!
We are hearing that Hanford workers are being told to take cover RIGHT NOW
Local news agencies are reporting this news as of 9:00 a.m. May 9th 2017...
BREAKING: This is confirmed information from Hanford officials.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Richland Operations Office activated the Hanford Emergency Operations Center at 8:26 a.m., after an alert was declared at the 200 East Area. There are concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels near a former chemical processing facility. The tunnels contain contaminated materials.
Actions taken to protect site employees include:
Facility personnel have been evacuated
As a precaution, workers in potentially affected areas of the Hanford Site have gone indoors
Access to the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site, which is located in the center of the Hanford Site, has been restricted to protect employees
NO ACTION for Residents of Benton and Franklin Counties at this time!!
The public can request information regarding the event by calling (509) 376-8116
09 May 2017
10:54 AM --
Responders are on the scene and are reporting the soil has subsided in an area approximately 20 feet by 20 feet over one of the tunnels next to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility, also known as PUREX. There is no indication of a release of contamination at this point. Responders are getting closer to the area where the soil has subsided for further visual inspection. The subsidence of soil was discovered during a routine surveillance of the area by workers. The tunnels are hundreds of feet long, with approximately eight feet of soil covering them. The depth of the subsidence of soil appears to be into the tunnel.
The tunnels to the PUREX facility are located to the east of the facility, extending south. There are two tunnels, one is approximately 360 feet long and the other is approximately 1,700 feet long. The tunnels were used beginning in the 1950s to store contaminated equipment. The 20 foot wide by 20 foot long cave-in is in an area where the two tunnels join together.
Statement from Governor Jay Inslee regarding the situation at Hanford.
“The Department of Energy informed us this morning that a tunnel was breached that was used to bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. I appreciate that the White House reached out to my office to alert us to the situation as well.
“This is a serious situation, and ensuring the safety of the workers and the community is the top priority. Our understanding is that the site went into immediate lockdown, in which workers were told to seek shelter, and all access to the area has been closed.
“Federal, state and local officials are coordinating closely on the response, and the state Department of Ecology is in close communication with the U.S. Department of Energy Richland Office. My office is in close communication with these agencies and directly with Department of Energy headquarters in DC. We will continue to monitor this situation and assist the federal government in its response.”
These are some images of the affected area courtesy of Hanford and the Department of Energy.