WA Gov. Inslee statement on today’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation tunnel breach
“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.”
For information updates from Hanford, please visit here: http://www.hanford.gov/c.cfm/eoc/?page=290
Event Summary 5/9/2017 10:37 AM
HANFORD SITE EMERGENCY
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. Officials are responding to reports of a cave-in of a 20 foot section of a tunnel that is hundreds of feet long that is used to store contaminated materials. The tunnel is located next to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility, also known as PUREX, which is located in the center of the Hanford Site in an area known as the 200 East Area. There is no indication of a release of contamination at this point, Crews are continuing to survey the area for contamination. All personnel in the vicinity of the PUREX facility have been accounted for and there are no reports of injuries.
Actions taken to protect site employees include:
- As a precaution, workers in the vicinity of the PUREX facility as well as the Hanford Site north of the Wye Barricade (southern entrance to the site) have been told to shelter in-place
- 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
The public can request information regarding the event by calling (509) 376-8116. The media may call (509) 376-3322.
No action is currently required for residents of Benton and Franklin Counties.
More information here: http://www.hanford.gov/c.cfm/eoc/?page=290&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
Photo: This picture shows a 20 foot by 20 foot hole in the roof of a tunnel that is hundreds of feet long. Surveys of the area show no indication of release of contamination as a result of the cave-in.