hanford

Courtesy Michele Gerber

A new federal report says that a massive building at the Hanford Nuclear Site is worse off than managers thought. 

The so-called PUREX -- Plutonium Uranium Extraction -- plant isn’t clean. Starting in 1956 the plant processed loads of plutonium. Its walls are up to 6 feet thick, and it’s as long as three football fields.

PUREX is located within Hanford’s 200 East Area. It’s about 7 miles from the Columbia River and 5 miles from State Highway 240.

ANNA KING/NW NEWS NETWORK

A worker at the Hanford Nuclear Site was recently contaminated with a speck of radioactive material after work in a lab building scheduled for demolition. 

It’s all happening at what’s called the 324 Building at Hanford, not far from Richland, Wash., in a research lab that worked with radioactive materials. There’s been a large radioactive leak into the soil beneath the lab -- mostly cesium and strontium. The lab’s being prepped to get at that contaminated soil, and then demolish the building. 

ANNA KING/NW NEWS NETWORK

Like the crumbling gasket in your kitchen faucet, sometimes even small parts can mean a lot. Now, federal watchdogs are looking into all types of parts at a $17 billion construction project at the Hanford Nuclear Site.

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Energy has found a sample of parts going into a large waste treatment plant at Hanford had problems.

Courtesy U.S. Deptartment of Energy

The project to stabilize and seal a large tunnel of radioactive waste has been completed at the Hanford nuclear reservation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

The so-called Tunnel 2 project started in October 2018, at the massive Washington cleanup site near Richland.

ANNA KING / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

new proposal from the Trump administration could dramatically change the way the government cleans up radioactive tank waste at t

ANNA KING/NW NEWS NETWORK

There are several agencies and a group of stakeholders who watch over cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. But the partial government shutdown is blocking some of that important oversight.

In the past 10 years, the Environmental Protection Agency office in Richland has shrunk from nearly 10 experts working on Hanford issues to just three – including the top manager.

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Firefighters scrambled Sunday night at the Hanford nuclear reservation to corral a 2,800-acre wildfire. Hanford officials said the wildfire started Sunday evening.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

A federal watchdog agency said Wednesday that it's hard to prove that Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant is safe. 

U.S. Department of Energy

Workers plan to tackle some of the nastiest waste on the massive Hanford cleanup site next month. The so-called K-Basin holds sandy, explosive, potentially flammable and highly-radioactive sludge stored in six large containers.

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A Yakama Nation leader, Russell Jim, has died. The 82-year-old was well-known by tribes and environmentalists across the nation for his fight to clean up Hanford.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The U.S. Department of Energy is launching a federal investigation into a demolition site at the Hanford nuclear reservation where radioactive waste from the site has been spreading in unexplained ways.

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Northwest Senators had a lot of questions for U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday morning. They grilled him on the safety of steel in a massive treatment plant under construction at the Hanford nuclear site.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The U.S. Department of Energy is demanding thousands of pages of documentation from one of its top contractors at Hanford. They want to know exactly what grade of steel is being used in a massive radioactive waste treatment plant at the decommissioned nuclear site. 

U.S. Department of Energy

Prompt communication between workers and management at the Plutonium Finishing Plant did not occur,  so radioactive waste continued to spread at Hanford. That’s according to a new report out Thursday.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation. The law will allow workers who have been exposed to toxic chemicals or radioactive waste more easily access compensation for medical treatment.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The National Academy of Sciences is conducting days of meetings in Richland, Washington, this week. On the agenda is what to do with a lot of liquid radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

ANNA KING / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

As many as 11 workers may have ingested or inhaled radioactive contamination at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site at Hanford in southeast Washington state. Ten workers are confirmed to have tested positive and one needs more testing to confirm the results.

U.S. Department of Energy

Hanford workers have called a “stop work” at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site because of worries about radioactive contamination inside government vehicles.

ANNA KING / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

Reaction in the Pacific Northwest was swift to President Trump’s proposed cuts to the cleanup budget at the Hanford Site.

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, called the proposed $230 million cut “downright dangerous for everyone who lives near the Columbia River.”

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington health officials penned an uncommonly stern letter to the U.S. Department of Energy this week. It details concerns over the radioactive contamination spread at a Hanford demolition site.

The five-page letter highlights six main issues the state has with the management of the demolition at the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant. 

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/h99dl7h

Radioactive waste keeps spreading at a demolition site at Hanford. This week, officials have found more contamination on a worker’s boot, on a work trailer and a personal vehicle.

Now, a rental car that’s possibly contaminated has ended up in Spokane. It’s now on a trailer headed back to the Tri-Cities for testing. 


Anna King / Northwest News Network

Top state health officials are concerned that radioactive waste in the air is spreading around the Hanford site in southeast Washington. It’s mostly from that same demolition site that’s contaminated two workers, dozens of vehicles and closed down nearby offices.

U.S. Department of Energy

Two Hanford workers have tested positive for radioactive waste in their bodies. It happened at the Plutonium Finishing Plant—a massive factory being demolished at the nuclear cleanup site in southeast Washington state.

Hanford Plateau / YouTube - https://tinyurl.com/ycps75qw

The discovery of an "overwhelming presence" of radon gas has forced more than 100 workers at the Hanford Site to move their offices Thursday. This follows a series of radioactive contamination issues at that same demolition project on the southeast Washington nuclear site.

U.S. Department of Energy

The area and amount of stuff contaminated by radioactive waste at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state keeps getting bigger.

First it was two cars. Then it was eight. The count is now 14 vehicles that are contaminated with radioactive waste. Half of them are personal cars. One is even contaminated on the inside. 

U.S. Department of Energy

Upper managers didn’t know that some radioactive waste had gotten outside of bounds at a Hanford demolition site for more than a day. And that delay could have worsened the spread of contamination.

When workers found radioactive waste in areas where it shouldn’t have been, they did everything right. Everything, except notify higher managers. And that delay could have worsened the spread.

Hanford Plateau / YouTube - https://tinyurl.com/ycps75qw

There has been another incident of contamination at the Hanford Site. This one involves worker vehicles that were driven off the nuclear cleanup site in southeast Washington state.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/h99dl7h

Since December 8, six workers at the Hanford Site have shown up as possibly contaminated. One worker was possibly contaminated twice.

It happened at the Plutonium Finishing Plant—a massive building that used to make so-called plutonium buttons for bombs since 1949.

U.S. Department of Energy

A new report about the radioactive tank waste at Hanford says the cleanup could take decades longer and cost billions more than estimated. The document, called “System Plan 8”, proposes 11 complex scenarios for how the 56 million gallons of radioactive tank waste could be moved out of those tanks and treated. 


U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy is about start shoring up another train tunnel full of old radioactive equipment at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state. This is all happening because a similar train tunnel full of waste—called Tunnel 1—collapsed this spring.

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