Feds evacuate workers at Hanford nuclear site

The state's Department of Ecology has reportedly confirmed that there has been no detected radiation leak, and no confirmed threat to the health of workers.

Local authorities ordered the evacuation of workers from the plant, located 360 kilometers southeast of Seattle and has about 200,000 cubic meters of radioactive material.

"Hanford made more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors along the Columbia River".

Plutonium production ended at the site in 1980 and the cleanup program began in 1989. Hanford said there's no indication of a release of contamination and no reports of injuries.

On the left: a Department of Energy photo of Hanford's B reactor, the world's first plutonium reactor.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Open Above Closing Records in Low-Volatility Trading
Since Donald Trump's election in November the S&P 500 has risen almost 14 per cent, raising questions about market valuations. It was the third straight day that the Nasdaq notched an all-time high, but each of those has been by only a marginal amount.

The anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear said the incident helped show "radioactive waste management is out of control". A press release sent out around 1pm EST said that "facility personnel have been evacuated", while workers at nearby sites have been instructed to stay indoors. The tunnel that is possibly affected is next to a plutonium uranium extraction facility.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said in 2014 that the Department of Energy had a "never-ending pattern of failing to disclose what it actually knows about the conditions at Hartford", according to BBC News. "The tunnels contain contaminated materials", said an emergency alert posted online.

The collapse was spotted by workers doing routine surveillance. The agency says the rail tunnels are hundreds of feet long, with about eight feet (2.4 meters) of soil covering them. The depth of the subsidence of soil appears to be two to four feet deep.

But never, he said, has there been a tunnel collapse. More specifically, the tunnel that collapsed was one filled with highly radioactive train cars that once carried spent fuel rods containing deeply unsafe plutonium and uranium from a reactor on the Columbia River to the processing facility. The work is expected to take until 2060 and cost more than $100 billion.

For decades the USA has struggled to dispose of tons of nuclear waste it has produced from weapons and power generation, but a series of setbacks have stopped the creation of a dedicated nuclear waste site in Nevada.

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