Hanford: Tank Farm Closure Given Federal All-Clear to Resume Work

Sep 4, 2013

The tank farms at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington are cleared to resume work 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 said it turns out there was no leak. He said “pre-existing contamination” on some concrete near the tank “could have been exposed when insulating blankets shifted.” There is a 4-inch square of contamination where elevated beta radiation levels were detected, he said.

A Hanford contractor is preparing to re-start pumping activities, Smith said, and some pre-pumping work will begin this week.

Washington state Department of Ecology officials say they are encouraged that radioactive waste removals will start up again. They added delays were fairly brief.