Workers building road to reach Hanford tunnel

Workers are making preparations to fill a 400-square foot (37 square meters) hole

An aerial view of the 20x20 foot hole in a tunnel that collapsed at the Hanford Site, May 9, 2017 (KOIN)
An aerial view of the 20x20 foot hole in a tunnel that collapsed at the Hanford Site, May 9, 2017 (KOIN)

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Workers on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are making preparations to fill a 400-square foot (37 square meters) hole that has developed over a tunnel containing radioactive waste stored on the former plutonium production site.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday that workers were building a gravel road to reach the cave-in, located in the middle of the sprawling reservation in eastern Washington state.

The agency says the road will give workers a clear path to fill the collapsed portion of the tunnel, which was discovered Tuesday morning.

The Energy Department says no one was injured in the unoccupied tunnel, which has been sealed for decades, and no radioactive material escaped into the environment.

But non-essential workers at the Hanford site, which employs some 9,000 people, were told to stay home Wednesday.