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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Radioactive Tunnel Collapse in Washington State

By Douglas V. Gibbs
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The tunnel collapse in Hanford, Washington, while no radiation has been released, is being labeled a major crisis.  There has been no injuries reported regarding the Tuesday morning emergency.  Vibrations in the ground as a result of local road construction work is being blamed for the cave-in.

The tunnel in question contains decades-old radiation and contaminated equipment including eight rail cars used to transport fuel rods.  Another longer tunnel is connected to the site, containing 28 loaded rail cars.  The tunnel is attached to a plutonium-uranium extraction (PUREX) plant.  Workers in the area were told to take cover, secure ventilation in their buildings, and eat or drink nothing.

The collapsed patch of ground above the tunnel is suspected to be about 400 square feet, sinking 2 to 4 feet.  The entire site is about half the size of the State of Rhode Island.

Sealed in the mid-1990s, and checked periodically, the 20-foot wide hole in the roof of one of the tunnels was discovered during routine surveillance.  Hanford spent years producing materials for America's nuclear weapons.

Technology is being used to ensure no radiation has been released, with robots taking samples of the air and the ground to test if there is contamination.

Is the collapse in Hanford a warning?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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