Radiation Leak

Contamination Area

Authorities at Hanford nuclear waste site are investigating a possible leak after discovering radioactive material on a worker’s clothing. The discovery follows an incident early last week in which a site tunnel collapsed, sparking fears of radiation exposure. 

Hanford River Protection Solutions, a contractor working at the site, on Thursday detected high readings of radiation on a robotic device known as a crawler that workers were pulling out of a nuclear waste tank. Contamination was also discovered on the clothing of one of the workers. 

Using leak-detection instruments, HRPS said it did not find liquid escaping the tank. However, workers are preparing a plan to conduct a visual inspection by video. 

State officials are also urging the US Department of Energy to investigate the incident and determine the safety of the site. 

“We are not aware of any nuclear waste leaking outside the AZ-101 double-shelled tank, but we expect the US Department of Energy to immediately investigate and report on the source of contamination,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. 

“We’re calling for an immediate investigation by US Department of Energy into contamination & potential leak in a Hanford nuclear waste tank.”