Emergency Crews Begin Work On Collapsed Nuclear Facility Tunnel - Latest Update

Tyler Durden's picture

Hanford Emergency Update: Destry Henderson, Spokesperson with the Hanford Emergency Center


Emergency workers have begun work to stabilize and fill a 20-foot-by-20-foot opening over a tunnel that partially collapsed near the PUREX facility at the Hanford Site. Non-essential employees remain offsite.

In the 1950s and 1960s two tunnels were constructed next to a former chemical processing plant, the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, or PUREX, located in an industrial area near the center of the Hanford Site called the 200 East Area. The tunnels were constructed of wood and concrete and covered with approximately 8 feet of soil. The tunnels were constructed to hold rail cars that were loaded with contaminated equipment and moved into the tunnels during the Cold War.


During a routine surveillance of the area this morning, a 20-foot-wide hole in the roof of one of the tunnels was observed, leading to the precautionary sheltering of employees and notifications to area counties and states. After no contamination was detected, the shelter in place order was lifted and employees were sent home from work early as a precaution. Workers continue to monitor the area for contamination as a crew prepares to fill the hole with clean soil.


The approximately 360-foot-long tunnel where the partial collapse occurred contains 8 rail cars loaded with contaminated equipment. That tunnel feeds into a longer tunnel that extends hundreds more feet and contains 28 rail cars loaded with contaminated equipment. The hole opened up in the shorter tunnel near where it joins the longer tunnel. The tunnels were sealed in the mid-1990s and are checked periodically.

And now one of them has collapsed...

This video, taken late on May 9, shows personnel laying down a gravel road that leads to the tunnel’s collapsed section. The road will provide a secure and clear path for workers to fill the tunnel opening.

Latest Update:

Hanford Emergency Update: Destry Henderson, Spokesperson with the Hanford Emergency Center

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Iconoclast421's picture

If only we used thorium....

0hedgehog's picture

Ya......thorium......but it doesn't make a good weapon so what good is it! Nuclear plants were never really for making electric power as much as they were for making MILITARY POWER from the byproducts created!

Manthong's picture


“Purex” …

That sounds so non-nuclear…

..more like facial cream.

Shitonya Serfs's picture

Fill the hole with the Obamas and Clintons. And about 50 other families/heirs of/by the system (not just one tentacle of each..all of them).

Ignatius's picture

Some sober circumspection is called for here.

This spokesman could be Christy Todd Whitman, post gender reassignment, who reassured New Yorkers that the air was fit to breathe post 9/11.

Solio's picture

If only the scientists woluld've used their heads! None of these disasters had to happen.

RagaMuffin's picture

Do da Fukushima.........pump baby pump

NoDebt's picture

While you're back there would you might knocking that hump down so I don't get all that standing water in my back yard every time it rains?  Thanks, that's been bothering me for a long time.


krispkritter's picture

Sounds like something a Kardashian would say...

Dr. Engali's picture

Send in the crew from Tepco, I hear they have some pretty good experience at taking care of environmental hazards.

Bill of Rights's picture

Fill it with Liberal Tears...

krispkritter's picture

Why don't they bury this shit under DC? At least then we could start plugging these radioactive sphincters with pols and lobbyists.

Dr. Engali's picture

Because DC is so full of shit there's no room to bury anything else.

Cardinal Fang's picture

Hanford and OSHA, perfect together

I wouldn't trust those dosimeters and Geiger counters.

'Nothing to see here, move along...'

IridiumRebel's picture

Man I'd love that job....not.

thatthingcanfly's picture

On balance, this appears to be much ado about nothing.

ChanceIs's picture

As I said in the earlier article, this is no bog deal. Most people don't understand "radioactivity."  When you hear a journalist announce a "radioactive release," you should instantly know that he/she is incompetent.  Radioactive materials emit radioactivity continuously according to their half lives.  Those "activated rail cars" continuously emit whether the tunnel roof is in place or not.  The tunnel roof no doubt provided enough shielding to allow a human to walk on the surface above the cars with no impact whatsoever.  Absent the roof, a human might not want to be so close.  I would guess that if one of those cars was brought to the surface that  human could stand 100 yards away with no negative impact.

There was no release.  The radioactive material - the rail cars - haven't moved.  More radioactivity is now passing into the general environment than before, but the total radioactive flux hasn't changed.

If a journalist wriites there has been a release of "radioactive material," then you know you have a problem.

Fukushima was generally radiating the environment and releasing radioactive material.  I wouldn't have thought twice about flying in a helicopter 50 yards above that plant pre-explosion.  The total radioactive flux probably decreased after the explosion.  However the amount of radioactivity impacting the environment went throukgh the roof literally and figuratively.  Previously the activity was absorbed primarily within the reactor (by design intent), by the reactor containment (because the reactor design can't be perfect), and also the building roof to a minimal extent because there wasn't much hitting it.  After the explosion there was probably little more radioactive material.  However the shielding in the form of the reactor itself, the containment, and the roof was all missing.  You wouldn't want to be 100 yards above thst reactor even if none of the radioactivity had moved.  Of course there was massive release of radioactive material. That is very bad news. Being near that material is bad news,  It is worse if you eat it.  Nobody will be eating the rail cars at Hanford.  People will eat the fish that might have ingested the radioactive material.  And so it goes.

When in doubt, it is best not to eat or breathe anywhere near the site of a nuclear incident.

BrownCoat's picture

Keep calm and glow till ya die. Your half life isn't that long anyway.

@ ChanceIs,

Your lack of concern reminds me of Cheney, McCain and Graham sending other people's kids off to die is an unnecessary war just so the MIC can get more taxpayer funded profits. 

You may not be worried about radioactive material, but I am! Fukushima continues to pour 300 tons (71,895 gallons) of radioactive water into the ocean each day. That is the official report. Officially, no one died at Fukushima. By the way if someone says otherwise, they get sued by the Japanese government. 

I kinda don't believe your statements about standing 100 yards away. You may not believe this report.

It is impossible to get accurate information about the effects of radiation because the nuclear industry's livelihood depends on keeping a lid on"bad press."

ChanceIs's picture

Good sir.  I am sure that you are very sincere.  However you have missed my point completely.

With respect to Fukushima there really is basically no such thing as "radioactive water."  I will grant you that the isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium essentially behave chemically identically to hydrogen, and readily react with oxygen to form water.  In the first instance we have "heavy water," and the second instance "tritiated water."  I would have to look it up, but I think heavy water is very stable - long half life.  Tritium decays very quickly - I believe 13 years.  Tritium is used as the "H" in H bombs.  When I was in the business, interaction with it was discouraged, but opportunities nill.  It is hard to create tritium.  The US has built special facilities at great expanse to guarantee a supply.  Certainly very little hydrogen would be "activated" into deterium or tritium by exposure to radiation within the Fukushima plants.  I think in general that the ignorant, biased press believes that water exposed to radioactivity is somehow dangerous.  Ask yourself the question:  Were all of the workers (comprising mostly water) who sacrificed themselves in containing Chernobyl treated in hospital as being radioactive?  Certainly they would have been decontaminated on the surface before being treated.  They no doubt wore protective suits which prevent contact with the skin by not so much radiation shielding.

You probably meant to write, "water bearing radioactive material."

For sure there had to be a lot of radioactive material "dust" or fragments which were released into the environment (airborne or water borne) in the months after the incident.  Everything in that plant should be solid by now and all of the loose material washed away.  I doubt that the water passing through the plant is carrying any more than trace amounts of radioactive material.  

monoloco's picture

The DOE and the US military spent 50 years at Hanford, knowingly creating one of the most contaminated places on earth, and conducting secret experiments on radiation exposure using an unsuspecting civilian population as guinea pigs. The ground under it is now contaminated down to the watertable hundreds of feet below it for the next ten thousand years.

"AS ONE WHO SUPPORTED the nuclear arms buildup during the Cold war—which in part contributed to the environment that allowed these experiments to occur—I was nonetheless shocked, surprised and saddened when I found out late last year of the extent of these radiation experiments. It is unconceivable to me that even at the height of the "Communist Threat," our scientists, doctors, military, and, perhaps, political leaders approved some of these experiments to be conducted on an unwitting public."

— Senator John Glenn (the former astronaut) commenting at the onset of the Congressional Human Radiation Experiments Advisory Committee in 1994. 



Able Ape's picture

Hey, it's only plutonium - sweep it under the rug and forget about it!...

Chet Ricco's picture

Is it just me or does the spokesman appear to be glowing?

FractionalReserveEnding's picture

Why the FUCK we still use Nuclear Fission is beyond me.  If you can't create power without making a dangerous byproduct that takes millions of years of babysitting after you're done with it... use something else.  Coal, Nat gas, hydro, solar, etc.  Sweet Jeebus

BrownCoat's picture

Why? Funny the Left had redefined environmentalism to include nuclear energy as a "green" energy. So the answer to your question is, everyone is fucking crazy!

Gimme an example of a human civilization that has been stable for 10,000 years. ZERO, none, never happened yet!  So why we allow the creation of hazardous waste that will outlast not only our individual lives, but our civilzation is beyond me. Irresponsible and stupid.


With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down

Helpless people on a subway train
Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them

He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

Oh no, they say he's got to go go go Godzilla
Oh no, there goes Tokyo go go Godzilla

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of men

AKKadian's picture

There will be things coming out of that hole, the likes we have never seen before, just like Hillary's hole, strange things go in, strange things come out.!!!

Herb Ellis's picture


I wonder if the workers have ObamaCare?

Uhhhh Oh (insert smart ass emoji here)

Fourth Horseman's picture

Yet another .gov clusterfuck in the making. What else is new.