Hanford workers fixing collapsed tunnel, schedules revised

Hanford workers fixing collapsed tunnel, schedules revised
Crews are surveying the area for radioactive contamination after a tunnel collapsed at Hanford.

UPDATE: 9:37 A.M. (5/10/17) Crews are filling a collapsed section of a rail car tunnel next to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX). Approximately 50 truckloads of soil will be used to fill the hole.

UPDATE: 3:16 A.M. (5/10/17) All non-essential employees north of the Wye Barricade are to report to work at 9 a.m. Employees required to maintain minimum safe operations are on a regular work schedule.

All employees south of the Wye Barricade are on a regular work schedule.

200 East Area WRPS essential personnel are to report to the 2750E facility.

Hanford Vit Plant jobsite work is canceled for Wednesday. All other Vit Plant staff is on a regular work schedule.

Hanford workers fixing collapsed tunnel, schedules revised

UPDATE: 2:19 P.M. The collapsed tunnel is one of two constructed during the Cold War for storage of contaminated equipment from plutonium production operations at the site. The tunnels were constructed of wood and concrete covered in approximately 8 feet of soil. The area of emergency is located near the center of the Hanford Site.

Officials are continuing to monitor the air along with working on a plan to fix the hole in the tunnel roof. They are looking at options that would provide a barrier between the contaminated equipment and the outside air that would not cause the hole to widen.

Latest update on the situation at Hanford:

Posted by Hanford Site on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

UPDATE: 1:35 P.M. All non-essential employees in the vicinity of the 200 East Area have been released from work early. Swing shift who are not needed for essential site operations have been told not to come into work tonight as officials determine how to address this morning’s partial tunnel cave-in. Workers considered essential for site operations are being told to report to work while avoid in the emergency area.

UPDATE: 12:08 P.M. There is no indication of contamination from the hole in the PUREX tunnel. Crews are continuing to monitor the air in the vicinity and have not detected contamination. Employees north of the Wye Barricade and outside of the 200 East area were released from work at noon as a precaution. Personnel in the 200 East area remain sheltered in-place.

Update on emergency situation at Hanford.

Posted by Hanford Site on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

UPDATE: 11:13 A.M. Crews are surveying the area near the PUREX tunnels for contamination. They are using a remote operated surveying device called TALON, which is capable of monitoring large areas for radiological and industrial hygiene along with capturing video footage.

UPDATE: 10:54 A.M. The 20-foot by 20-foot cave-in is in the area where two tunnels leading to the PUREX facility join together. They’ve been used since the 1950s to store contaminated equipment. One is about 360 feet long, the other about 1,700 feet long. Both are located east of the facility.

UPDATE: 10:13 A.M. 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.

UPDATE: 9:39 A.M. The Hanford Fire Department is on scene and updates will be posted as they are available. Workers in the vicinity are still being sheltered as a precaution.

ORIGINAL: Multiple Hanford employees have been evacuated from the 200 East area of the Hanford Site following a tunnel collapse.

The tunnel contains contaminated materials and workers in potentially affected areas have gone indoors.

The U.S. Department of Energy Richland Operations Office activated the Hanford Emergency Operations Center just before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning to declare the area unsafe.

Hanford Emergency Operations have told KAPP-KVEW that no one was injured and there is no evidence of a radiological release at this time.