The threat level for the possibility of  2nd tunnel collapse that holds highly radioactive waste at Hanford has been elevated from "unlikely" to "anticipated" after a recent video inspection.

Not only is the possibility of collapse more likely, officials say the effects of a collapse could be much more severe then originally thought.

The video inspection showed lots of metal corrosion and that "neither tunnel inspected meets current codes for structural integrity", according to reports. The Department of Energy study shows that the supposedly stronger 2nd tunnel can not support the 8 feet of soil laying on top and is likely to collapse.

credit Department of Energy
credit Department of Energy

The 2nd tunnel is over 4 times longer then the shorter tunnel that collapsed in May 2017. The highest danger experts say is from the large beams that support the tunnel that could collapse and pierce containers holding waste.

Hanford experts and officials want to fill the tunnel with a grout cement that will seal the waste until it can be removed by being cut into blocks. The Department of Ecology wants Hanford to wait until a public comment period has passed before starting the work.

Experts warn that if they wait to fix the problem, it might be too late. Being an agriculture region, a collapse could cause severe damage to this areas reputation and environment.

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