Hanford Workers Get ‘All Clear’ After Shelter Indoors Order During Tunnel-Filling Operation
Officials at the Hanford Nuclear Site ordered workers to stay indoors Friday morning as a precaution. They discovered steam rising from an unexpected part of a tunnel filled with highly contaminated waste.
By mid-day, officials had announced they found no contamination.
Workers had expected some steam as they began grouting work to fill a radioactive waste-filled tunnel at Hanford’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction, or PUREX, facility. They just didn’t expect it to escape from this spot.
Earlier this month, they’d started piping grout into the site’s second tunnel. The concrete-like grout is supposed to stabilize it. Officials had worried it was in danger of imminent collapse. A smaller, older tunnel had partially collapsed in May 2017. That tunnel has already been filled with grout.
Surveys Friday morning determined there was no radioactive release and the steam was caused by the grouting work. Officials explained that as the grout hardens, it heats up and creates moisture, which mixed with the cool morning air.
Workers sheltered indoors for about four hours.
The partial government shutdown is blocking some of important oversight at Hanford. In the past 10 years, the Environmental Protection Agency office in Richland has shrunk from nearly 10 experts working on Hanford issues to just three – including the top manager.
Continue Reading Federal Hanford Cleanup Watchdog Put To Sleep During Government Shutdown
In the middle of Hanford’s desert, there’s a tunnel that stretches a third of a mile underground. Anna King got a first-of-its kind look at how work is progressing to prevent another collapse at one of the tunnels willed with radioactive waste. Continue Reading A First Glimpse Of Hanford’s Tunnel 2 As Work Continues To Prevent Another Hazardous Collapse
A fresh federal watchdog report about Hanford says after a major review, systemic fraud and inadequate oversight keep happening at the site, and it’s costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Continue Reading Federal Watchdog Report Says Hanford ‘Plagued With Mismanagement … Fraudulent Activities’