DOE will fill collapsed nuclear waste tunnel with grout - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DOE will fill collapsed nuclear waste tunnel with grout

Posted: Updated:

6-1-17 UPDATE:

RICHLAND, WA (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy has decided a partially collapsed tunnel containing radioactive waste will be filled with a concrete-like grout.

The tunnel is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, and contains wastes left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.

On May 9, workers discovered that a portion of the tunnel roof had collapsed.

An emergency was declared and steps were taken to stabilize the 360-foot-long tunnel, which dates to the 1950s. The breach was filled with soil and a layer of heavy plastic was pulled over the length of the tunnel.

No radioactivity was released.

The Energy Department said Wednesday that most of the tunnel will be filled with grout, which will stabilize the tunnel and help contain radioactivity.


RICHLAND, WA - The "Controlled Access Area" around the PUREX facility in the 200 East Area was lifted after crews successfully placed a protective cover over the tunnel. 

The cover was placed over the tunnel around 12 o'clock Saturday afternoon. 

Traffic restrictions in the 200 East Area including South Canton Avenue are no longer in place. According to Hanford, employees can report to their normal work location at their regularly scheduled times.