Anna King | KUOW News and Information

Anna King

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Triââ

Washington state is taking legal action against the U.S. government after a tunnel full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at the Hanford nuclear site.


Tuesday morning an emergency response was triggered at the Hanford nuclear site when a hole was found in the roof of a buried tunnel nearby a mothballed plutonium processing plant. The tunnel, constructed in the haste of the Cold War, was about 360-feet-long and built out of timbers and concrete.

So what exactly is in that tunnel? 


Contractors are building a road to a collapsed train tunnel site at the Hanford nuclear reservation in southeast Washington state. Their goal is to keep any radioactive contamination from escaping the hole that was found Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued an emergency alert Tuesday morning at the Hanford site north of Richland, Washington, after a tunnel at a radioactive cleanup site caved in. Workers at a former chemical processing plant were evacuated and thousands more across Hanford were directed to take shelter indoors.

State and federal officials said all workers were accounted for, there were no injuries and no indication of “release” of radioactivity into the environment. By early afternoon, the employees taking shelter were given permission to go home except those needed for emergency response.

The city of Kennewick, Washington, had a wakeup call last year. One of its city councilmen made a joke online about Mexican-Americans that upset people in the Tri-Cities.

Holden Village, a retreat center at the tip of Lake Chelan that’s been mostly closed due to mine remediation work, is ready to fully re-open.

An unusually cold and wet spring has Northwest asparagus growers anxious because the crop isn’t coming up. Large asparagus packing houses say they’re down hundreds-of-thousands of pounds so far this spring from normal.

The March For Science in Washington, D.C., is happening this Saturday on Earth Day. Smaller science events are happening across the Northwest -- even in conservative southeast Washington.

You know the name Rosa Parks. But do you know David Sohappy? He was at the center of a 30-year legal battle over Native American rights to fish salmon.

Next week the Yakama will mark the 30th anniversary of what they call the “Fish Wars.”

With climate change and the decline of honey bees, Northwest farmers are looking for more reliable ways to pollinate cherry and apple trees.

Tuesday the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission scolded the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant. The NRC said the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington improperly packaged, mis-labeled and shipped too-hot radioactive waste.

Returning an ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man to the earth was a private affair. After decades of legal battling, a couple hundred people gathered in the early-morning chill of February for the burial.

In Washington state, experts say probably more than half of the workers harvesting the apples you eat and the asparagus you grill are undocumented. And farmers and undocumented workers are bracing for deportations President Donald Trump has promised.

A Catholic bishop is preaching a message that’s tough for some of his white parishioners to hear: that they have to love their undocumented immigrant neighbors.

Over the weekend a large diesel spill developed on the Columbia River near downtown Wenatchee, Washington. So far state officials haven’t been able to locate the source of the spill.

The Northwest has had above-average snowpack and rain in many areas this winter. That’s good -- it’s wiped out drought. But all that water has wildland fire managers concerned about the terrain’s greening cheatgrass.

Wine scientists and grape growers will converge in the Tri-Cities, Washington, next week to talk about how to produce high-quality wine when the climate is getting more extreme.

Roads in a large swath of central and eastern Washington and Oregon have been devastated by melting snow and heavy rain. The flood of potholes and washouts has stalled heavy trucks carrying wheat, cattle and equipment.

Kennewick Man was reinterred Saturday by several Northwest tribes in a private ceremony. It ended a 20-year battle between scientists who wanted to study the bones and tribes who wanted to lay them to rest.

Northwest farmers are getting a bit antsy to start spring prep. But they are tallying up damage from a harsh winter -- and they’re worried it’s not over yet.

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a florist who declined to do flowers for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s anti-discrimination law. But the same-sex couple who won the case, isn’t celebrating too enthusiastically just yet.

Northwest residents are surrounded by thousands of dams, some in disrepair. And now the emergency at California’s Oroville Dam has sharpened interest in dam safety.

In Washington and Oregon, head-high piles of snow are starting to melt out east of the Cascades. But even Northwest cities that are used to clearing abundant snow are tallying up extra costs this winter.

A major bottleneck in Ellensburg and other central Washington towns is loosening up as two of the main Cascade mountain highway passes reopened Friday. Snow slides and danger of avalanche forced the unusual closure of White, Stevens and Snoqualmie passes all at once.

During winter’s coldest months, snow can protect winter wheat like a blanket on a bed. But if it hangs around too long it can cause problems.

President Donald Trump signed executive orders to increase immigration enforcement officers, deport individuals living in the country illegally and build a wall along the border with Mexico. All while Northwest farmers say they can’t hire enough people to pick fruit or work in packing houses.

The recent testy back-and-forth between President Donald Trump and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto -- could end in real cash losses for agriculture in the Northwest.

Most farmers in rural eastern Washington state say they only hire legal workers. But there’s a polite fiction of living and working there. Federal immigration officers raid farms and ranches here. And people get deported.

Old Man Winter has struck again east of the Cascades. Residents woke up Wednesday to find the deep snow covering the area frosted by an ice storm.

In the Tri-Cities, children have had nearly a dozen snow days and late-start days this winter. Piled on with airport, mountain pass and work closures -- many parents are feeling quite trapped.

The inauguration of Donald Trump and the next session of Congress mark the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the United States. The trade deal proved to be a divisive issue during the presidential election -- and not just among politicians.

Two closely-tied agriculture exporters in the Northwest, beef producers and hay farmers, will be affected by the end of  TPP in very different ways.

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