US

Cleanup at Idaho nuclear landfill on hold after pit collapse

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.

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An earlier version of this story incorrectly defined transuranic waste.