From day one, many people have feared what would happen if things went bad at a local nuclear facility. A recent scare has brought that reality back to the limelight, and now preppers around the country are kicking their doomsday efforts into high gear after this reminder of how quickly things can go bad.
Eastern Washington state is under a nuclear waste emergency. Employees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation saw an unusual dip on the horizon.
— PNS-Washington (@PNS_WA) May 10, 2017
Upon investigation, they realized the unusual feature was a collapse in one of the waste disposal tunnels. Immediately, staff were ordered to take shelter in buildings with ventilation, designed to protect them from potential leaks, via Tri-City Herald.
This was Tuesday morning. As of now, there still has not been any airborne leak of radioactive material, and monitoring continues. Work has begun to repair the tunnel.
Nonessential staff who work within a certain distance of the collapse have been told not to come into work. The recovery plan is to fill the hole with clean soil.
Those who live and work in eastern Washington have been told by authorities they do not need to take any precautions.
Preppers in the immediate area are likely already on their bug-out routes. Authorities need to make sure there isn’t a mass panic. That’s understandable, but we all know it’s possible they underestimated risk.
Benton and Franklin Counties have told residents they do not need to act. Nearby school and universities have told parents and students the same.
However, because this is the beginning of a long-term incident, it is essential you keep monitoring this situation if you live in Washington or Oregon. Hanford is roughly 30 miles from the Oregon border and seven miles from the Columbia River.
The Hanford facility is not involved in energy production. There is a commercial nuclear plant nearby, Columbia Generating Station, but Hanford itself produced plutonium for World War II and now stores that radioactive material. There have been questions about the safety of this facility for some time.
Dr. Walt Tomasaitis was fired from the site in 2013. He alleges he was fired because he raised safety concerns. The next year, Hanford’s manager of environmental and nuclear safety, Donna Busche, was fired too, via IB Times.
Busche told CBS News, “We raised technical issues and have received harassment, retaliation.” An investigation into Busche’s termination was ordered by Ernest Moniz, the then-U.S. energy secretary.
Ultimately, the site has failed at its core mission. Originally, the plan was to have the nuclear waste made into glass logs by 1998, which could then be put in long-term storage. That deadline had to be moved to 2032.
Even if you don’t live in the area, this is a good reminder to check out how close you are to nuclear facilities. Look into their record for safety. Most importantly, have a bug-out plan, even in the case of small leaks.