[5/9/17] Hundreds of workers have been forced to “take cover” after a tunnel in a nuclear finishing plant collapsed in Washington state.
Following the incident Tuesday morning, which a spokesperson told the Independent is still being investigated, a manager sent a message to workers telling them to “secure ventilation in your building” and to “refrain from eating or drinking.” The US Department of Energy activated its Emergency Operations Center Tuesday following the collapse. Some workers were reportedly told to evacuate while others were told to shelter-in-place as officials investigated the severity of the situation.
The tunnel reportedly contained highly contaminated materials including nuclear waste trains that are used to transport radioactive fuel rods. A spokesperson said that there was no evidence to suggest that radioactive materials had been released and that all of the workers in the area were accounted for. An official tally of those with orders to shelter-in-place was not immediately available, a spokesperson said.
“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Richland Operations Office activated the Hanford Emergency Operations Center at 8:26 a.m,” the Department of Energy said in a statement. “There are concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels near a former chemical processing facility. The tunnels contain contaminated materials.”