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Odors prompt shelter-in-place order for workers at Hanford nuclear site

The shelter-in-place order has been lifted for most workers as of noon Wednesday.

Editor's Note: The video above was originally published in 2017.

Workers at the Hanford nuclear site north of Richland, Washington were under an order to shelter in place after crews smelled odors while checking for subsurface materials Wednesday morning.

The order has since been lifted for most personnel after no radiation, contamination or chemicals were detected at certain levels.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is monitoring the event, which began around 8:30 a.m.

According to the site’s website, two crews were conducting well-drilling work and scanning for subsurface materials near an on-site facility. Simultaneously, the two crews smell odors and a take cover was initiated for workers in the area.

Just after noon, the take cover order was lifted for workers except those between Camden Avenue and Beloit Avenue and between 10th Street and 13th Street. Also, the Rattlesnake Barricade has been closed.

Crews are investigating what could have caused the odors.

The incident comes just days after KING 5 reported on a controversial incident at one of the Hanford nuclear site’s “tank farms” involving workers who smelled odors, two of which became so ill that they had to be taken to the hospital and given oxygen.

The contractor involved in the incident did not report it because it said the workers’ symptoms were “most likely” caused by a piece of malfunctioning equipment.

Hanford is the most contaminated worksite in the country. It was where plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons was produced for roughly 40 years. Since the late 1980s, Hanford has been strictly a clean-up site.

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