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The Latest: Washington state nuke site returning to normal

October 26, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Latest on steam escaping from a tunnel at a former nuclear weapons production site (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Employees at a nuclear weapons production site in Washington state who were ordered to stay inside when steam escaped from a tunnel containing radioactive waste have been released.

The U.S. Department of Energy said surveys found no evidence that radioactive material had escaped Friday from the tunnel as it was being filled with a cement-like grout at Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The agency says the steam was the result of the curing of the grout recently placed in the tunnel to stabilize it.

The Energy Department says workers told to go inside buildings could leave by about 12:15 p.m.

Hanford was created during the Manhattan Project in World War II and made most of the nation’s plutonium, including for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

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9 a.m.

Officials have ordered some workers at a sprawling Washington state nuclear waste site to go inside and stay there because steam has emerged from a tunnel with waste that was being filled with a cement-like grout.

The U.S. Department of Energy says in a statement Friday that there is no indication that the steam seen at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation contains radiation or any other hazardous material and that the workers were ordered inside as a precaution.

The site near the Columbia River in eastern Washington state produced plutonium for use in nuclear weapons for decades.

The steam came out of a tunnel that stores nuclear waste in railroad cars left over from the Cold War.

A tunnel is in danger of collapsing and cement is being used to stabilize it.

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This item has been clarified to show that the tunnel was being filled with a cement-like grout.

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