State rejects request to immediately fill aging tunnel

August 13, 2018

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The state of Washington will not allow the federal government to quickly shore up an aging tunnel containing radioactive waste left over from the production of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Department of Energy wanted to immediately start filling the tunnel, which is in danger of collapsing, with a concrete-like grout intended to strengthen the structure located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The state Department of Ecology on Monday declined to allow the work before a required public comment period ends Sept. 27.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and some of the waste is stored in tunnels on the huge site

One tunnel partially collapsed in 2017. A study revealed a second and much larger tunnel, built in 1964, was at serious risk of collapse.

Update hourly