People of Northwest Public Radio
Wed September 4, 2013
Hanford Tank Farms Get All-Clear After High Radiation Reading
Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 9:37 am
The tank farms at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington have the all-clear for work to resume after a high-radiation incident briefly shut down much of the site last month.
In late August, Hanford workers responded to an emergency of a high-radiation reading near a tank known as C-101.
In a new letter to Hanford workers, Manager for the Office of River Protection Kevin Smith says it turns out there was no leak. He says “pre-existing contamination” on some concrete near the tank “could have been exposed when insulating blankets shifted.” There is a four-inch square of contamination where elevated beta radiation levels were detected, he says.
Smith says a Hanford contractor is preparing to re-start pumping activities. And some pre-pumping work will begin this week.
Washington State Ecology officials say they are encouraged that radioactive waste removals will start up again and that the delays were fairly brief.