(INTELLIHUB) — On Tuesday the Emergency Operations Center was activated at the Hanford Nuclear Site at 9:30 a.m. after a 20-foot section of tunnel used to store radioactive materials collapsed.
“The 360-foot tunnel is located next to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, also known as PUREX, which is located in the center of the Hanford Site, in an area known as the 200 East Area,” according to a government press release.
All non-essential staff has been released from the facility and Chinook helicopters have been seen aloft over the area.
Around 10 a.m. Tuesday workers began to fill in the hole with dirt in an effort to contain radioactive particles from entering the jet stream.
On Wednesday, “crews at the Hanford Site have filled the hole in the tunnel near the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX) with soil. Approximately 53 truckloads of soil, or approximately 550 cubic yards of soil, were used by crews to fill the hole,” according to the facility’s official website.
Moreover, information has emerged that a small explosion took place at the site weeks ago when am employee cut through a pipe at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, raising even more questions.
However, according to the government: “No radiological contamination was detected as a result of the collapse or while the hole was being filled. However, until additional actions can be taken to ensure safety, access to portions of the Hanford Site’s 200 East Area will continue to be restricted.”