Nuke truck halted by hot brakes

A truck equipped to carry radioactive materials blocked one lane of State Route 304 in Bremerton after one of its brakes overheated on Wednesday.

The Navy-owned vehicle did not have radioactive liquid in it when the incident occurred at 11:26 a.m. June 26, said Navy and Washington State Patrol information officers.

“The cargo was an empty liquid collection tank with low-level radio activity inside,” said Puget Sound Naval Shipyard spokesperson Mary Anne Mascianica in a written statement. “The tank did not have any contents that could result in a reaction or explosion.”

The truck, bound for PSNS from Submarine Base Bangor, stopped just outside the shipyard when the driver noticed smoke and heat waves rising from the back of the truck.

Apparently the rear brake overheated. Although the original call came in as a fire, according to Washington State Patrol information officer Trooper Glen Tyrrell, there were no flames.

The driver cooled the brake with a fire extinguisher and called for help. Bremerton, South Kitsap and PSNS firefighters responded to the call. No one was injured, traffic was not interrupted, and no radioactive material was released.

“A person standing three feet away from the tank for three hours would receive less exposure than they would receive from a cross-country airline flight,” Mascianicia said.

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