Hanford temporarily evacuates workers from area

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RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation were briefly evacuated from a tank farm after a small plume of smoke or steam was spotted coming from a new ventilation system.

The Tri-City Herald reports (http://bit.ly/oTxkKR ) that the workers were allowed back into the area about 90 minutes after they were evacuated Tuesday.

The new ventilation system was undergoing testing prior to being used for the first time. It has no radioactive contamination because it has not been connected yet.

About 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste is stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford. Contractor Washington River Protection Solution is charged with emptying the tanks.

The company says there were no injuries or exposure to radiation. An investigation is under way to determine the source of the smoke or steam.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com