Gov. Inslee issues statement on Hanford tunnel breach - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gov. Inslee issues statement on Hanford tunnel breach

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -

Following a reported tunnel collapse and breach at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation Tuesday morning, Governor Jay Inslee issued a statement calling it a serious situation. Crews are currently surveying the area near the PUREX tunnels for contamination. Crews are using hand surveying techniques in the outer areas around the PUREX facility. At and near the area of subsidence crews have deployed a TALON, which is a remote operated surveying device that is capable of radiological and industrial hygiene monitoring as well as capturing video footage. The TALON device allows crews to safely survey potential areas of contamination from a distance of up to ½ mile. As of Tuesday afternoon about 3,000 Hanford workers remain in a "take-cover" situation.

The governor's full statement can be read below:

“The Department of Energy informed us this morning that a tunnel was breached that was used to bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. I appreciate that the White House reached out to my office to alert us to the situation as well.

“This is a serious situation, and ensuring the safety of the workers and the community is the top priority. Our understanding is that the site went into immediate lockdown, in which workers were told to seek shelter, and all access to the area has been closed.

“Federal, state and local officials are coordinating closely on the response, and the state Department of Ecology is in close communication with the U.S. Department of Energy Richland Office. My office is in close communication with these agencies and directly with Department of Energy headquarters in DC. We will continue to monitor this situation and assist the federal government in its response.”

For information updates from Hanford, please visit here: http://www.hanford.gov/c.cfm/eoc/?page=290

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