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Washington State Presses Feds For Cleanup At Hanford


This image provided by the U.S. Department of Energy shows a 20-foot by 20-foot hole in the roof of a storage tunnel at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., Tuesday, May 9, 2017. An emergency was declared Tuesday after the partial collapse of the tunnel that contains rail cars full of radioactive waste.

This image provided by the U.S. Department of Energy shows a 20-foot by 20-foot hole in the roof of a storage tunnel at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., Tuesday, May 9, 2017. An emergency was declared Tuesday after the partial collapse of the tunnel that contains rail cars full of radioactive waste.

U.S. Department of Energy/via AP

Washington state is taking legal action against the U.S. government after a tunnel full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at the Hanford nuclear site.


Washington Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon called the incident “alarming” and said state officials need to hold the feds accountable to clean up the site. She said the U.S. Department of Energy needs to immediately assess the integrity of the tunnels and fix them.

The infrastructure built to temporarily store radioactive waste is now more than 50 years old. The state said the tunnel collapse is direct evidence that it’s failing.

The Yakama Nation, a group of Northwest tribes, is also calling for a quicker cleanup of the tunnels.

At the Hanford nuclear site, workers have filled the tunnel cave-in with dirt and employees there are returning to work.

Hanford nuclear Department of Energy

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