Portion of tunnel containing nuke waste collapses at Hanford

An emergency has been declared at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington after a portion of a tunnel that contained rail cars full of nuclear waste collapsed.

Workers at the site of the tunnel collapse Tuesday morning were evacuated. No workers were in the tunnel. Workers farther away were told to remain indoors.

Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Ecology, said there apparently has been no release of radiation and no workers were injured.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and now is engaged in cleaning up the nation’s largest volume of radioactive defense wastes.

The sprawling Hanford site is located near Richland and is half the size of Rhode Island.