BOISE, Idaho – Some cleanup efforts at a nuclear waste landfill in Idaho were placed on hold while workers try to figure out what caused a collapse in a dig area that sent an excavator into a pit.
The excavator was digging up transuranic waste — which is waste contaminated with highly radioactive elements.
No radiation was released during the May 11 incident, and no one was injured, said Erik Simpson with Fluor Idaho, a contractor hired to clean up the site at the Idaho National Laboratory.
The excavator was digging at the 97-acre (392,545-sq. meter) Subsurface Disposal Area near Idaho Falls when the side of the pit collapsed.
Simpson said the excavator slid partway into the 21-foot (6 -meter) deep pit. The operator remained in his protective cab for about 90 minutes.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly defined transuranic waste.