Nuclear alert issued Tuesday after a tunnel at the Hanford plant, near Washington, collapsed


It connects to a PUREX (plutonium uranium extraction) building. Hundreds of workers were in “take cover” position after incident. A text message sent immediately to all personnel from the Hanford Emergency Operations Center which was activated recommended to all personnel to “secure ventilation in your building” and “refrain from eating or drinking,”  but was unclear if any radioactive materials were released into the air. “There are no reports of injuries, no reports of a radiological release,” Destry Henderson, deputy news manager for the Hanford Joint Information Center, told the media. Vibrations from work near the plant may have triggered the collapse. Residents of the nearby Benton and Franklin counties do not need to take any action, the facility said. The PUREX facility was built in the 1950s and used until 1988 to extract plutonium from around 70,000 fuel rods in total. The building has been vacant for nearly twenty years and “remains highly contaminated”. Plutonium production ended at the site in the 1980s and cleanup began in 1989.


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