No-Fly Zone Issued for HANFORD Nuclear Site, Collapse Is Five Times Larger Than First Estimated (Video)
No-Fly Zone Issued for HANFORD Nuclear Site, Collapse Is Five Times Larger Than First Estimated Video – DAHBOO
Responders on scene at the buried railroad tunnel next to the Hanford Site’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction facility (PUREX) report that the soil collapse over the tunnel is actually 20 feet by 20 feet, much larger than initial estimates of 4 feet by 4 feet.
The depth of the soil collapse appears to have reached the tunnel, Hanford’s emergency information site says. There still appears to be no contamination released from the cave-in.
Crews are continuing to survey the area for contamination, the website says: “All personnel in the vicinity of the PUREX facility have been accounted for and there are no reports of injuries.”
As a precaution, the site says, workers in the vicinity of the PUREX facility as well as the Hanford Site north of the Wye Barricade (southern entrance to the site) have been told to shelter in-place.
The tunnels to the PUREX facility are located to the east of the facility, extending south, the website explains.
There are two tunnels: One is approximately 360 feet long and the other is approximately 1,700 feet long. The tunnels were used beginning in the 1950s to store contaminated equipment. The 20 foot wide by 20 foot long cave-in is in an area where the two tunnels join together.
Update 2: An aerial survey midmorning Tuesday showed an opening about 20 feet by 20 feet into the tunnel, which had been covered with about eight feet of soil. As Tri-CityHerald.com reports , the breach could expose the highly radioactive material disposed of in the tunnel to the atmosphere.
No airborne radiation had been detected as of about 10:30 a.m. Radiological surveys were continuing.
Instructions for people to shelter in place were expanded from central Hanford to all of Hanford, including LIGO and the reactor areas along the Columbia River, after the aerial survey. No one is being allowed to enter the site beyond the security barricades.
Earlier in the morning workers near Purex had noticed a 4-foot-by-4-foot depression that was 2 to 4 feet deep over the tunnel.
Workers in Purex were evacuated when the depression was noticed.
About 3,000 workers in central Hanford initially were told to take shelter indoors, including about 1,000 workers at the vitrification plant construction site. Ventilation systems at the vit plant have been turned off as part of the emergency procedure and equipment that could generate heat have powered down.
The DOE announced that secretary Perry is aware of the incident and that there is no initial indication of any worker exposure or an airborne radiological release.
— DOE Press Staff (@EnergyPressSec) May 9, 2017
Meanwhile, Private pilots in the area have been told to avoid flying over Hanford. The Hanford Patrol is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to put a formal air restriction in place until the FAA can confirm there is no danger.
Update 1: A robot is being used to sample the contaminated air and soil in the area around the collapse…