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Caved-In Tunnel At Hanford Covered Over With Strong Tarp

Federal contractors at the Hanford nuclear site have installed a thick tarp over the collapsed tunnel structure filled with radioactive waste that collapsed two weeks ago.
U.S. Department of Energy
Federal contractors at the Hanford nuclear site have installed a thick tarp over the collapsed tunnel structure filled with radioactive waste that collapsed two weeks ago.

Over the weekend, workers at the Hanford nuclear site finished installing a thick plastic covering over train tunnel full of radioactive waste. The tunnel was found to have collapsed and opened up a hole nearly two weeks ago.

Crews used heavy equipment to place the heavy-duty tarp over the tunnel. Then they secured it on both sides with heavy concrete blocks.

In the next few days, workers will string cables across the cover to hold it down even more. The covering is supposed to help protect workers if further collapse happens. It’s intended to keep any contamination from escaping.

It’s also a way to keep any water from getting into the eight-feet of soil above the tunnel from here on out.


U.S. Department of Energy officials said no workers were injured during the tunnel’s collapse or later containment.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.