"Everybody's Freaked" - Washington Nuclear Facility Admits Second Radiation Leak, Workers Contaminated

Tyler Durden's picture

Just under two weeks since the emergency at the Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state (following a tunnel collapse), NBC's local affiliate King5 reports Hanford’s owner, The U.S. Department of Energy, is scrambling to deal with a second emergency - signs have emerged that a massive underground double shell nuclear waste holding tank may be leaking.

The tank is known as AZ 101 and was put into service in 1976. The tank’s life was expected to be 20 years. Now it has been holding hot, boiling radioactive and chemically contaminated waste for 41 years.

As King5 reports, a seven-person crew was undertaking a routine job around 7 p.m. Thursday night. They had deployed a remote controlled devise into the safety space of what is known as a double shell tank. The device is used to evaluate structural integrity of the aging tanks. Normally, equipment lowered in this two-foot wide outer shell of the tank comes up clean. But not this time. A radiation specialist on the crew detected higher than expected readings.

Radiological monitoring showed contamination on the unit that was three times the planned limit. Workers immediately stopped working and exited the area according to procedure,” said Rob Roxburgh, deputy manager of WRPS Communications & Public Relations, the government contractor in charge of all 177 underground storage tanks at the nuclear site.


“Everybody was freaked, shocked, surprised,” said a veteran worker, who is in direct contact with crew members. “(The contamination) was not expected. They’re not supposed to find contamination in the annulus (safety perimeter) of the double shell tanks.”


"We are of course concerned it might be a leak," a Washington state Department of Ecology spokesperson said.

The AZ 101 contamination event comes just 10 days after a tunnel collapse at Hanford that caused a site wide emergency. On May 9, workers found a 20 by 20 foot cave in of a tunnel used to store highly radioactive and chemically contaminated equipment from the Cold War-era.

Worse still, as The Wall Street Journal reports, a worker’s clothing was exposed to radioactive contamination at the site late Thursday, in what Gov. Jay Inslee called an “alarming incident” that should prompt federal officials to expedite their cleanup of the decommissioned facility. Detection equipment was then used to check for contamination that might have become airborne and adhered to the workers.

They found radioactive material on one worker in three spots: on one shoe, on his shirt, and on his pants in the knee area. According to workers in the field, the contaminated items were removed, bagged and appropriately disposed of.

Governor Jay Inslee called on the federal government to investigate after the contamination was discovered."This comes on the heels of last week's tunnel collapse. It is another urgent reminder that Congress needs to act, and they need to act quickly."

“The May 9th incident should serve as an urgent reminder of the challenges in cleaning up the Hanford site that require a rededication of attention and resources in order to ensure progress continues moving forward,” the governors said in their letter to the Republican president.


“The longer it takes to clean up the facilities and structures that store mixed chemical and radioactive waste, the farther and farther they get past their useful lives - causing degradation and more risk of failing.”


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Nice Try Lao Che's picture

None of them have heard about the new dance craze (live at the Budokan)





BuddyEffed's picture

The stock markets and the rich have siphoned off the monies that would have been available for infrastructure maintenance for their own personal wet dreams.

Never One Roach's picture

Oddly, Meryl Streep, George Klooney, the media and the Dems are not outraged?

knukles's picture

Why would anybody be freaked because their clothes were exposed to radiation?

sinbad2's picture

Make it easy to find your clothes in the dark.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Hanford will never be cleaned up. Consultants have collected $80 billion to do nothing so far and they are happy to keep that business model going forever.

r3phl0x's picture

And fixing it for realz could lower nominal GDP - can't have that.

COSMOS's picture

How the heck do you clean something up without getting dirty? Like the guys coming in there that are supposed to decontaminate the place are not going to get exposed? You dont just spray pixie dust in the air and on the ground like some air freshner to get get rid of bad odors. Just wait till this crap gets fully exposed to the blowing wind and dust. Each dust particle will become contaminated and make its way across the states or globe to settle in so poor schmucks lungs or be eaten on some food so it can settle next to a living cell in someones body and just convert it into a zombie cancer cell.

Son of Loki's picture

How will they be able to tell if their leukemia and thyroid cancers are from the nuke reactor or Fuki radiation?

hannah's picture

ship every illegal to the site and put them to work til they drop dead....that will be the 'wall' because no one else will dare come into the country.....

FreeNewEnergy's picture

Thank you for that cheery glimpse of the future. Love, love, love.

Croesus's picture

Oh shit....a radiation leak in WA?

Here comes Libzilla.

worbsid's picture

It is on the Columbia River.  We will soon have giant Steelhead trout.  Bravo, Good Show, All that Rot ...

Stackers's picture

Just drove by that place last week.... amazing landscape out there

COSMOS's picture

Thank god for radiation contamination. It will keep that Columbia river gorge pristine for the next half million years. Till the radioactive induced lizards become dinosaurs again and stomp all that vegetation under their Godzilla toes.

El Vaquero's picture

Nobody really knows how to deal with this mess.  Lots of nasty chemicals, lots of heat, and its composition is changing due to nuclear decay.  Hanford is a clusterfuck in the truest sense of the word.  

Diatom's picture

Three words define the human species:





Yog Soggoth's picture

You would have to be pretty stupid to put a nuclear facility anywhere the RING OF FIRE.  Maybe if they called it something more dramatic people would pay attention. 

espirit's picture


The instruments were obviously mis-calibrated.


Try it again with the new and improved ‘Fukushima Standard Calibration’.


29.5 hours's picture

<<Why would anybody be freaked because their clothes were exposed to radiation?>>

It is freak-worthy. The issue is not the radiation itself, but what form it is. In this case, getting radiation on your clothing means that radioactive particles are definitely not where they are supposed to be. Something went flowing or airborne that should not have. This is serious. The smallest particle ingested or breathed (no matter the intensity of the radiation it emits) can/will cause cancer.

Container integrity has been breached -- and in an unpredicted way.

I used to be a radiation control technician in one of my previous lives.

Rapada's picture

Actually very interesting information, but I think Knucks was being sarcastic :) We would all freak. We are all freaking.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

Of course he was being sarcastic. 

How else can any sane person deal with the media's continuing idiotic reports, all parroting the inane line that "a worker's clothing" was contaminated? 

For fuck's sake, the worker was IN the clothing at the time. Is there really anyone out there who is fooled by this chicanery?

It's like the evil bastard propagandists aren't even trying anymore.

BuddyEffed's picture

A speck of plutonium contaminated dust so small you can't see it if inhaled and lodged in your lung has such concentrated and powerful radiation that it's a safe bet you will get cancer quickly.

secretargentman's picture

Nuclear power... Perhaps it seemed like a good idea at the time? 

Yog Soggoth's picture

So did dilithium crystals, then came the Ferengis.

August's picture

Glad I don't live in Spokane no mo.

(There goes The Redoubt).

Freddie's picture

Yeah no movies about Karen Silkwood or China Syndrome or even a mention of Fukishima.

These were govt contrat serfs who are expendable.  Just like the sailors on the USS Reagan after Fukishima.  The f***king nuke weapons industry has polluted so many places for MIC/Deep State/zio endless wars.

gold rubeberg's picture

Classic case of malinvestment. Fun little techie things get capital out the wazoo while nuclear waste gets loose.

monk27's picture

Idiocracy... it's here, already !

GUS100CORRINA's picture

"Everybody's Freaked" - Washington Nuclear Facility Admits Second Radiation Leak, Workers Contaminated

My response: FUKUSHIMA 3.0. Note we already went past 2,0 weeks ago.

Let me quote Albert Einstein

'Nuclear power is a hell of a way to boil water'

Sudden Debt's picture

America only now figured out that it's a Idiocracy. It's been there for decades.

Why do you think Americans have such a nice reputation in the rest fo the world?

forestgump227's picture

The nuclear scare is a total fraud to keep energy prices high and enrich the uranium miners!




forestgump227's picture

People that refused to evacuate around Chernobyl have a higher life expectancy. That is a fact the Jews will not tell you about. 

markar's picture

At least a million deaths have been attributed directly to Chernobyl, dickhead.

sinbad2's picture

Stupid is as stupid does.

devnickle's picture

Maybe you and your buddies should volunteer to clean up Hanford for us? I'll watch.....from a safe distance.......

Iconoclast421's picture

good thing we shut down those dirty coal plants in favor of this stuff


silverer's picture

I guess that's the very good thing about coal. When the fire goes out, you are done, and you don't have to look back, (or relocate 40 miles away).

bluez's picture

Coal is in fact, usually highly radioactive. Uranium and thorium have a very strong affinity for carbon. Most toxic heavy metals do. After you burn coal, the remaining ash is usually highly radioactive.

Sudden Debt's picture

Good thing America hasn't really invested in cold fusion and just kept on doing what it's been doing for the last 70 years.

Coal and Nuclear should have been retired a long time ago.

skinwalker's picture

Better to tap the Suns electrical field.

Barring that, hydroelectric is still the best energy source we have based on current technology.

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

Hydro has been good, but for future needs, support LFTR!

bluez's picture

Once the nuclear "fire" gets going, thorium is no better than uranium. In fact the radiation it produces is much more penetrating than what uranium produces.

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture


Radiation "more penetrating"? What does that mean?

LFTR can be powered using radioactive waste thereby cleaning up much of the mess we have already made, and it does not explode.

Walking Turtle's picture

Yeah - and abolished all Fusion Energy Research within a month of the Stanford Tokamak Team logging break-even from their advanced reactor design...  And, adding injury to insult, "we" broke the rightful full-efficiency Nuclear Fission Fuel Cycle right in two - then banished its most important component (the so-called "Breeder" reactor on the cycle's back-end)  in the name of "NON-proliferation"(sic+huk-huk-huk)...

The full-cycle design that was so stupidly broken effectively and economically reprocesses and re-uses the Boiling Water Reactor's fuel rods through twenty rounds of usage - produces even MORE electricity while "cooking out" the rods' contaminants en masse (at a high temperature) that the BWR's lower operating temperature allows to build up within those exotic alloys - and leaves the reactor's operator with TRULY and FULLY spent fuel rods that are both thermally and radiologically COLD

Still chemically toxic, if actually eaten by some poor fool or innocent child - but no longer radiologically "hot" by any stretch.  Fundamentally SAFE!  (Iranian leadership knows all this too, and is utterly determined to build their own nuke plants RIGHT.  That is why we are all plagued now with StuxNet etc, btw.  Failed centrifuge-sabotage cyber-tech, Gone Wild.)

Thanks loads, Bibi.  Breathe deep, now, bubbilah!

Stupid STUPID politicians!  Ditto the high-hand "Ownership Class" elite who bossed 'em!!  "Depleted Uranium" is what the re-cast waste fuel material that we are now saddled with by the ton after ton after hot-hot-hot TON is called by the gone-rogue USGummint and the foolish foolish contract-foundry operators that produce the illegal radioactive projectiles, bomb casings, battle-tank armor and, post-production+detonation, all the eternally-deadly DU dust all over the globe.

Come to think of it:  Who's this "WE", anyway, kemo sabe?  Yours Truly worked and fought for the GOOD thing for years on end, and was (like all my colleagues of the day) utterly ignored by Them Guys when push came to shove. 

So now we got wot we got.  This Old Turtle has lived to see the Day and bear witness, as is so for some few (heroic+dwindling) others.  And that is all.  0{:-|o[

apberusdisvet's picture

A minor annoyance; we'll all be dying of cancer in North America by 2050; thanks Fukushima.  More thanks to the corrupt USG and MSM; no warnings at all about this Teowawki moment. BTW: definite news shut down on any info on the poor sailors on the USS Reagan who were exposed and are dying slow deaths.  What's it going to take?  An evacuation of all of the Pacific Islands?  Cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

serotonindumptruck's picture

Damn, you're all over it. :)

To all those people who thought that the Pacific Northwest would be a safe zone...well...sucks to be you.

The Pacific Northwest will suffer the worst effects of global nuclear contamination.

Enjoy that Redoubt.