A report released by the U.S. Department of energy on Friday concluded that the aging structures of tunnels #1 and #2 at the Hanford Nuclear Site, the now shuttered plutonium production facility that fueled the Manhattan Project, pose “extreme hazard” and “high potential hazard” for collapse.

the existing Tunnel 1 structure presents an extreme collapse hazard until such time that physical evaluation of remaining timber members and their supports can be performed. For safety purposes (e.g. avoid potential collapse, avoid exposure to high levels of radiation, etc.), placement of personnel and equipment on top of the tunnel and within the roof load zone of influence is not recommended without further evaluation

US DOE reports:

http://www.hanford.gov/files.cfm/CHPRC-03364_R0_T1_a.pdf

http://www.hanford.gov/files.cfm/CHPRC-03365_R0_T2.pdf

KING’s has been covering this story up close for some months now and reports the Department of Energy says it is working with its contractors on a plan for stabilizing the tunnels. Those plans will then be presented those to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
“We took quick action in response to the Tunnel No. 1 collapse because of the potential for additional structural failures. We’re closely monitoring the situation to make sure Energy finds an effective solution,” said Alex Smith, Nuclear Waste Program manager for the Department of Ecology.

For more information about the Hanford Nuclear Site, please see KING’s video here.

 

 

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