The Latest Washington state nuke site returning to normal

The Latest Washington state nuke site returning to normal

Employees at Washington state's Hanford nuclear waste site were asked to "take cover" for several hours Friday because steam was coming from a small building in one of the site's tunnels, officials at the complex said.

Radiological surveys near PUREX Tunnel 2 are underway with no contamination discovered.

The U.S. Department of Energy said surveys found no evidence that radioactive material had escaped Friday from the tunnel as it was being filled with a cement-like grout at Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

"The occurrence appears to be limited to the immediate vicinity of the tunnel at this time".

A different tunnel at Hanford partially collapsed previous year and workers were ordered to stay inside for several hours.

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Crews were preparing to resume stabilization activities this morning when they noticed the steam. Rail cars containing contaminated equipment were last placed here in 1996, Hanford officials said. The door is 24 feet high, about 22 feet wide and is about 7 feet thick, and is built of steel. Work to fill that tunnel with grout was completed last November.

Crews in protective gear and masks that filtered air investigated the tunnel this morning with a team of power lights and cameras to test the conditions.

'Thank you to the crews involved in the response, as well as the employees who took cover, ' the statement added.

There is no indication of a release of hazardous material. "Hanford site federal and contractor employees should contact their managers or supervisors for more information". Go to the closest Take Cover facility now.

The alert to workers at the Hanford Vitrification Plant was precautionary, Bechtel spokeswoman Staci West said.

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