A sign at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is posted near Richland, Wash., on Aug. 13, 2019. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo File)
A decommissioned nuclear site in Washington state was evacuated following reports of shots being fired at the location.
Officials with the Department of Energy and Richard Operations Office are at the Hanford Site, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
There is no evidence of shots being fired on the site, and no injuries or deaths were reported, the statement said. Employees at the Hanford Site are still being interviewed.
“As a precaution, affected 2750 E personnel have been evacuated, and access to the Hanford Site has been restricted. No actions are necessary for the public,” the nuclear site’s statement said. In a later statement, it said that all “Hanford Site personnel, with the exception of 2750E Building personnel, can now return to their normal duties.”
Officials added that “reports indicated work activities in the immediate area likely caused the noises originally reported as shots fired to the Patrol Operations Center.”
Earlier on Tuesday, an emergency text message alert was reportedly sent out to employees at the site.
“HANFORD SECURITY INCIDENT INFORMATION: Active Assailant at 2750E in 200 East Area. Affected employees prepare to run fight hide. Employees in nearby buildings are to lockdown and prepare to run fight hide. All others stay away,” the message read, according to local media.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Hanford Patrol, and other agencies responded to reports of shots being fired, said a Facebook message from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
The Hanford Site, located in eastern Washington near the Columbia River, was first used in 1943 to manufacture plutonium for the Manhattan Project, which produced nuclear weapons during World War II. Starting in 1989, officials began a cleanup of the site.
“Additionally, all of the facilities and structures that were associated with Hanford’s defense mission must also be deactivated, decommissioned, decontaminated, and demolished. That environmental cleanup project is the work that about 8,000 Hanford employees are involved in today,” according to Hanford’s website. Source