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Hanford Tunnel Collapse at Nuclear Site Triggers Emergency Alert

Image: Hanford Tunnel Collapse at Nuclear Site Triggers Emergency Alert

In this July 9, 2014, file photo, a sign warns of radioactivity near a wind direction flag indicator at the "C" tank farm on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash. An emergency has been declared Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation after a portion of a tunnel that contained rail cars full of nuclear waste collapsed. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2017 05:40 AM

A tunnel collapse at Hanford nuclear waste site about 200 miles from Seattle on Tuesday morning resulted in hundreds of workers being told to “take cover” before being evacuated from the site.

Workers farther away from the site were told to remain indoors while the area is being tested for contamination, according to The Washington Post.

The U.S. Department of Energy said the tunnels contained radioactive materials but that no release of materials has been observed and there is no threat to the public from the collapse.

An emergency alert was triggered by the tunnel collapse, which officials say may have been caused by vibrations from work being done nearby, Fox News reported. The tunnel contained railroad cars full of spent fuel rods.

“There are concerns about subsidence in the soil covering railroad tunnels near a former chemical processing facility,” Energy Department officials said in a statement, The Washington Post reported.

Cleanup of the site has been ongoing since 1989; plutonium production stopped there in 1980, the Post reported.

According to KING5, there were no workers in the tunnel when it collapsed.

“There are no reports of injuries, no reports of radiological release,” said Deputy Hanford News Manager Destry Henderson, adding that the incident took place in a small area of the site, NBC News reported.

The U.S. Department of Energy, Richland, West Richland, and other local fire and police officials as well as Washington state patrol and Oregon and Washington state officials all responded to the scene, according to KING5.

The incident created some concern on Twitter as people tried to process information and determine whether it was a threat to them.

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A tunnel collapse at Hanford nuclear waste site about 200 miles from Seattle on Tuesday morning resulted in hundreds of workers being told to “take cover” before being evacuated from the site.
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017 05:40 AM
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