Official Says More Hanford Nuke Mishaps Likely
RICHLAND (AP) — The U.S. Energy Department's top official at Washington state's severely contaminated Hanford Nuclear Reservation says future accidental nuclear radiation releases are likely because the aging site's infrastructure is breaking down amid inadequate funding to quickly clean up millions of gallons of radioactive waste.
Doug Shoop made the comments in an interview with The Associated Press after workers were twice evacuated because of safety concerns. He manages the department's Richland Operations Office.
Hundreds were evacuated May 9 when the roof of a 1950s rail tunnel storing a lethal mix of waste from plutonium production collapsed. Tests show no radiation was released.
Demolition work on June 8 at a 1940s plutonium plant sent 350 workers seeking cover inside. Radiation was emitted but not deemed at a level harmful to people.