People of Northwest Public Radio
Hanford Working Conditions
Thu July 17, 2014
Hanford Workers Say They’re Not Satisfied With Working Conditions At Tank Farms
Hanford workers who are worried about getting sick turned out by the dozens for a public meeting in Richland Wednesday. Some of the nuclear site employees say the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors aren’t doing enough to protect them from hazardous and smelly chemical vapors. Correspondent Anna King was there.
About 45 people squished into tight rows in a small conference room. One lonely fan in the corner whirled hot air around.
The meeting was organized by a Seattle-area watchdog called Hanford Challenge. Since the early spring, there’s been a spate of workers who’ve sought medical attention after working in or near the tank farms. That’s where the government stores 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. Pete Nicacio is a manager for union plumbers and steamfitters here. He says he wants 24-hour, independent air testing at Hanford.
Nicacio: “I know there are things we can do for our guys out there and it’s time to do it. And I’m tired of having people say there is nothing going on out there.”
Last week, federal Energy officials told reporters that all their tests show that worker conditions are safe according to federal standards.
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