A tunnel used to shuttle hot fuel rods around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Seattle, WA has suffered a catastrophic structural failure followed by a partial collapse of about 400 square feet of its roof. The tunnel is widely reported as being “full of highly contaminated materials,” according to local news channel King 5.
Podcast Transcript: “There has been a collapse in a fuel rod plutonium tunnel at the Hanford nuclear facility in Washington State – not far from Seattle and some what close to the Oregon border. Hanford is a place where the nuclear fuel has been produced for many, many decades for nuclear weapons. Most of the nuclear arsenal across America uses fuel that was produced there at Hanford. One of the important – so called fuels – is plutonium 239, which has a half life of 24,000 years. They’ve been gathering a bunch of plutonium there, but who knows what the long term goal is… Apparently, the infrastructure at Hanford doesn’t last very long, because the tunnel is now collapsing. There was a roof collapse and now an open gap from the tunnel to the open air. This tunnel is used to shuttle fuel rods – hot fuel, actual nuclear fuel – back and forth to different parts of the underground facility. So, now there is a giant hole into the atmosphere. ‘Was radiation released out of that hole into the atmosphere?’ Well, of course it was, because that’s what radiation does. It emits in all different directions… ‘How much radiation was released?’ Well, we really don’t know…”