High risk for 2nd tunnel collapse at nuclear waste site

AP News
Posted: Jun 30, 2017 2:54 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy says there is a high risk that a second tunnel filled with radioactive waste might collapse at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

A tunnel partially collapsed on May 9, forcing some 3,000 workers to seek shelter for a few hours.

There were no injuries.

The Energy Department said Friday it had completed an evaluation of a second tunnel on the former nuclear weapons production site and determined there is a high potential for that 53-year-old tunnel to collapse. The agency says it has an Aug. 1 deadline to develop plans to prevent that.

Hanford is located in south-central Washington state and for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons. The site is now engaged in cleaning up a massive inventory of nuclear waste.