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At the WAVE Conference – Arnie Gundersen’s Presentation from Fairewinds Energy Education on Vimeo.


HANFORD EMERGENCY: EVACUATATION    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tunnel collapses at Hanford nuclear site; emergency declared

Samantha MatsumotoBy Samantha Matsumoto 
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on May 09, 2017 at 9:26 AM, updated May 09, 2017 at 12:46 PM

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The U.S. Department of Energy in Richland declared an emergency at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington on Tuesday morning after a portion of a storage tunnel that contained rail cars used to store nuclear waste collapsed.

There apparently has been no release of radiation and no workers were injured, said Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Ecology.

An emergency alert was declared at 8:26 a.m. after employees noticed a ground collapse in the 200 East Area, Hanford Emergency Center spokesman Destry Henderson said.

The ground collapse, about 400 square feet in size, occurred in an area where two underground tunnels join, according to an 11 a.m. online update by the Department of Energy. The tunnels, one 360 feet in length and the other 1,700 feet, were originally used in the 1950s to store contaminated equipment. The underground tunnels are have eight feet of soil covering them.

A 20-foot section of the tunnel’s roof caved in, Henderson said.

No workers were in the tunnel.

Six employees at the site of the tunnel collapse were evacuated, Henderson said. All employees in the Hanford site told to take cover after inspectors found the tunnel’s roof had collapsed.

Employees north of the site’s Wye Barricade and outside the 200 East Area were sent home from work at noon as a precaution, according to an update at 12:08 p.m. Employees in the 200 East Area remained sheltered at the site.

At noon, there were no indications of contamination, the update said.

It’s still unclear why the tunnel collapsed, Henderson said.

“Responders are getting closer to the area where the soil has subsided for further visual inspection,” according to an online update. “The subsidence of soil was discovered during a routine surveillance of the area by workers.”

Officials are using a robot to get closer, up to a ½ mile, that monitors “radiological and industrial hygiene” from up to a half-mile away.

The Northwest News Network reported about 3,000 employees work in the 200 East Area.

“At the moment we’re focusing on the safety of workers and making sure there’s no release beyond immediate site,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters at the scene.

Everyone is accounted for and there is no initial indiction of worker exposure or airborne radiation, the Department of Energy said in a statement on Twitter.

Officials have not evacuated any employees from nearby buildings, said Lori A., a spokeswoman who would give only her first name. She said she did not know how many employees were asked to stay put while crews investigate the damage.

Employees were asked to take cover in trailers and other designated areas, and they have not been evacuated from the property.

Nearby roads have not been affected, Lori A. said. She had no other information to share and said updates would be posted on the Hanford Emergency Information website.

Residents of Benton and Franklin counties are not required to take any action, the energy department said.

The Oregon Department of Energy activated its emergency operations center in response to the accident as a precaution, the department said in a tweet.

Nuclear experts at the department said the incident does not affect Oregon.

“While there are special precautions being taken on-site at Hanford, Oregonians do not need to take any special precautions or protective actions,” said the department director Michael Kaplan said in a statement. “We want people to be aware that we’re closely monitoring the incident at Hanford and will continue to provide more information as soon as it becomes available.”

The sprawling Hanford site is near Richland and is half the size of Rhode Island.

The tunnel collapsed near the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, a facility built in the 1950s that is no longer used today, according to the Department of Energy. The plant processed plutonium from 1956 to 1972, and again from 1983 to 1988.

During those years, the plant processed more than 70,000 tons of uranium fuel rods, about 75 percent of the plutonium at Hanford.

Some scientists believe no other building on the planet processed more plutonium, according to the website. The building has been vacant for more than two decades but remains highly contaminated, according to the website.

Hanford is the largest depository of radioactive defense waste that must be cleaned.

It contains about 56 million gallons of radioactive waste, most of it in 177 underground tanks.

Several rail cars used to transport the fuel rods are buried inside the tunnel near the plant.

“Several rail cars used to transport the irradiated fuel rods from the Hanford nuclear reactors to the processing canyons are temporarily buried inside a tunnel near PUREX as a result of becoming contaminated,” according to the website.

Reporter Susannah Frame with KING 5 in Seattle is tweeting from the site.

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RADIATION UPDATE: Beta Spikes and Rising Radiation Levels— by Majia (Majia’s Blog)10/16/14

Radcast:Majia is one of the best researchers on Fukushima and its effects on the West Coast and the US. Occasionally we post updates from her here on RadCast. Please check out her other posts as well.

 The “Level 8” Nuclear Disaster campaign is focused on mobilizing governments and organizations in every country to demand modification of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s current 7-level scale that indicates the severity of nuclear accidents. This newly proposed “Level 8” would firmly classify the gravity of the situation in Fukushima as a crisis calling for an unprecedented, internationally coordinated response of resources and aid in answer to a global nuclear emergency.


Story Map

The Untold Story of Fukushima Daiichi

A classified transcript of real-time communications at the The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the initial days after the March, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami was recently released along with many other eye-opening documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The transcript and other crucial documents have raised the most serious questions yet for TEPCO, the embattled operator, the Japanese government and the U.S. Government for failure to disclose the magnitude of the radiation release.

Click Image Below To Start Presentation.

The-unold-story-of-fukushima-daiichi


Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action (Kyoto, Japan) speaks about nuclear power accident emergency planning in central Japan. Plans call for the evacuation of more than a quarter million people to sites such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe.

Published on Apr 16, 2014 


Arnie Gundersen on Al Jazeera Discussing Fukushima Anniversary from Fairewinds Energy Education


Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen discusses the ongoing struggle for the people impacted by the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi disaster in his recent interview on Al Jazeera USA.

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