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Work noise prompted reports of shots that led to lockdown at decommissioned nuclear site

The Hanford Site in Washington state had been locked down after fears of an active shooter Tuesday, but no shooting occurred.
Hanford Nuclear Reservation
The B Reactor, the world's first large scale nuclear reactor, sits unused on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation along the Columbia River near Richland, Wash., in 2019.Elaine Thompson / AP file

Work noise at a decommissioned nuclear production site in Washington state prompted reports of gunfire that caused the facility to go on lockdown Tuesday, officials said.

Deputies rushed to the Hanford Site, which is about 20 miles northwest of Kennewick, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office said in statement at 11:22 a.m. PST.

“It has been determined that work activities in the immediate area likely caused the noises originally reported to the Patrol Operations Center as shots fired,” the Hanford Site said in an update Tuesday afternoon.

Managers of the site had called Tuesday's incident a "possible active shooter" and said employees were in lockdown mode.

But minutes after the sheriff’s initial statement, the department said deputies “have not located any victims inside the building or any evidence at this time of shots being fired.”

The Hanford Site said that it has resumed to normal duties.

Starting in 1943, the site produced plutonium for the top secret Manhattan Project, which led to atomic bombs used to end World War II.

It ceased operations in 1987 and has since become a tourist site.