Tuesday, May 09, 2017

DOE Statement on Tunnel Collapse At Hanford Facility (Updated)

Hanford Location - South Central Washington State

UPDATED:  The following addendum was posted on the DOE site after I posted this blog:

09 May 2017
10:13 AM -- Latest Information

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.


Since there's been an enormous amount of twitter attention, and social media speculation, over the reported tunnel collapse at the Hanford Nuclear Facility in Washington State this morning, I've retrieved and have posted (below) the DOE statement.

Event Summary 5/9/2017

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
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.

I'm monitoring local media (KING5-TV), along with the Hanford Twitter Feed (https://twitter.com/HanfordSite), but at this time there is no indication that any radiation  has been released or that a threat extends beyond the confines of the facility.

As always, local residents should turn to their local media for updates.

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