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January 2017

'Jan4' January 4
Demolition is underway at a historic, hazardous Hanford facility. Cleanup contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M) recently began demolishing the Americium Recovery Facility, also known as the "McCluskey Room";

View Press Release, here.

Jan19 January 19
DOE and CH2M are making progress reducing risk in the 300 Area, near the Columbia River just north of the Richland, Washington city limits.
 
Watch this video to find out more about how the Building 324 Disposition team will tackle a hazardous challenge beneath the building before it can be demolished. Watch YouTube video, here!
'Jan30' January 30
Workers have begun cleaning up a uranium-contaminated waste site on the Hanford Site. The 316-4 Waste Site is a former liquid disposal facility for uranium nitrate solutions from Hanford’s 300 Area, where reactor fuel was fabricated and research on fuel processing was conducted. A previous cleanup effort at the waste site was put on hold in 2005. Clean fill was placed in the hole until work on another nearby site, the 618-10 Burial Ground, progressed to the point that a deeper excavation could be made. In these photos, trucks transport clean fill as excavators dig down to reach contaminated soil in the waste site.
'Jan31' January 31
While demolition progresses on two of the four buildings that make up the Plutonium Finishing Plant, crews are performing the difficult and hazardous work of preparing the other two buildings for demolition – the main production facility and the fan house. This involves wearing protective clothing and breathing filtered air to perform work like removing highly-contaminated portions of the facility’s ventilation system, which kept employees and the environment safe during plutonium production days. Crews have removed or prepared to remove about 70 percent of the more than 1.5 miles of ventilation duct at PFP.

February 2017

'Feb6' February 6
Workers preparing to remove highly radioactive sludge have completed installation of sludge removal equipment at the 100K Basin, where the sludge is currently being stored.
'Feb13_1' February 13
A concrete floor under construction on the Hanford Site has a special mission – to test a mock-up of the saw that will be used to cut through a concrete floor of a highly contaminated former processing cell in the 324 Building. Cutting through the floor is necessary to remove the radioactive soil from beneath the building, which is within sight of the Columbia River in Hanford’s 300 Area. Testing the mock-up saw in a contamination-free environment, using a floor built to replicate the floor of the processing cell, will help improve safety and reduce risk, ensuring it works before it is deployed in a difficult to access and highly-hazardous area.
'Feb14' February 14
Congratulations to PFP work crews for moving the main processing facility closer to demolition. The crew just finished removing more than 750 feet of contaminated piping, a process that took about three-and-a-half months of working in extremely tight spaces and the use of extensive safety equipment to cut out and remove the piping, piece-by-piece. Overall at PFP, crews have removed about 82 percent of the 7,100 feet of similar piping in the building; removing that hazardous piping is necessary before demolition on that building can begin.
'Feb27' February 27
CH2M workers recently hit a major milestone toward reducing risk to the environment. CH2M just completed installation of sludge removal equipment at the 105K West Fuel Storage Basin, where the sludge is currently stored. Workers are in the process of completing installation work at the 100K West Annex, a facility that will be used to package and transport sludge. It is expected to be complete by the end of the month. Sludge is currently stored in the concrete basin, just 400 yards away from the Columbia River.
'Feb28' February 28

CH2M workers reached a significant achievement toward safely reducing risk to the environment. CH2M completed removing waste from 80 Vertical Pipe Units (VPUs) at the 618-10 Burial Ground. Constructed from corrugated pipes or stacked and welded drum casings, these VPUs received highly radioactive laboratory waste from the 300 Area from 1954 through 1963. Waste was disposed of within the VPUs, buried vertically, approximately 20 feet below ground.

The waste was compliantly packaged and transported to the onsite landfill – the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF) – for disposal. The 618-10 team spent more than 125,000 hours safely and compliantly completing this task. The ERDF team supported this effort and disposed of more than 2,000 tons of waste from the VPU’s.


March 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.

The eight-member ERDF mechanics team also plays a crucial role meeting inspection requirements. For every 300 hours driven, a truck must meet certain inspections to continue operations.

ERDF team members have on average more than 10 years of experience, and CH2M is grateful to their continued commitment to safely reducing the risk on the Hanford Site.

'Mar14' March 14
Hanford workers are safely making good demolition progress outside and demolition preparations inside at the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

'Mar16' March 16

CH2M employees completed drum retrieval from the 618-10 Burial Ground trenches, removing a total of 2,201 drums. These drums received low radioactive laboratory waste from the 300 Area from 1954 through 1963. Waste was disposed of within the drums and were buried approximately 20 feet below ground.

The workforce at 618-10 was presented with many challenges within the past six years of work at the burial ground and responded, adapted and continued moving forward to complete the mission. The project will continue to work on the completion of retrieval of 14 steel vertical pipe units and a mass excavation, on track to be completed by September 2017, with full project completion by September 2018.

CH2M is thankful for the dedication of the workforce who remains committed to safely reducing the risk on the Hanford Site.

'airlock' March 20
Hanford workers are preparing to enter the 324 Building’s airlock to begin cleaning it out. They are training on special protective safety equipment and recently operated and performed maintenance on the large airlock door. Cleaning out the radioactively contaminated airlock allows access to a nearby high radioactive hot cell and the radioactive soil beneath. Crews will eventually remove the hot cell’s floor to access and remove the soil, reducing risk to the nearby Columbia River and City of Richland.
'Mar21' March 21
This time lapse video shows workers safely removing tanks from the Americium Recovery Facility at the Plutonium Finishing Plant. Workers are in the final stages of demolishing that building, and are making significant progress demolishing the nearby Plutonium Reclamation Facility.

Watch the YouTube video, here.

'Mar27' March 27
Workers recently cut steam to the Plutonium Finishing Plant. This further isolates the facility from hazardous energy – an important step in allowing demolition to progress. The steam kept the facility warm; with warmer spring time temperatures, the steam could be shut off… for the last time in the facility’s nearly 60 year history.
'Mar28' March 28
Take a look at six months of demolition at the Plutonium Finishing Plant in about 30 seconds. Time lapse pictures show the safe progress in demolishing the Plutonium Reclamation Facility.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

'Mar30' March 30
This week, workers finished demolishing a hazardous Hanford facility, nicknamed for the worker hurt inside 40 years ago.
'March30' March 30

Demolition complete at hazardous and historic Hanford Facility!

Read the Tri-City Herald article, here!


April 2017

Apr3 April 3
Aerial photos capture demolition progress at the Plutonium Finishing Plant. These photos from March show demolition on the Plutonium Reclamation Facility and Americium Recovery Facility (shaded in photos) which has since been demolished.
Apr4 April 4
Workers are making progress cleaning up contaminated soil in Hanford’s 100K area. Crews dug as deep as 34 feet – removing 140,000 tons of soil– near the 100K East reactor. Contaminants in the soil include chromium, mercury and nitrate, which came from a water treatment plant that supported 100K East reactor operations in the plutonium production era. It is important to remove the contamination from the soil because it prevents it from getting into groundwater, protecting the Columbia River.
Apr6 April 6
Workers are continuing to fine tune Hanford’s groundwater systems to increase the amount of water being treated and shrink areas of contamination. Work is wrapping up on installation of specialized pumps at two pump and treat facilities along the Columbia River. The additional pumps installed will help maintain groundwater treatment rates. These facilities treat hundreds of gallons of contaminated groundwater per minute and operate 24/7 so it’s important to keep them running efficiently at all times. The additional pumps will help continue to pump groundwater when part of the facilities are down for maintenance and they will also serve as backup pumps, if other pumps at the facilities fail.
Apr11 April 11
“The rail system for the 324 Building airlock successfully completed testing at the factory and is being prepared for shipment to the site. The track will allow crews to safely and efficiently move bins of debris and, eventually, contaminated soil out of the hot cells, into the airlock and out of the airlock for dispositioning. This is just one component that workers will use to remove the contaminated soil from beneath the 324 Building, allowing for that building’s eventual demolition.”
Apr17 April 17
Hanford employees are using a mock-up strategy – testing and training on equipment before actually doing the work – in the effort to remove highly radioactive soil from beneath the 324 Building. Take a look at some recent progress, here!
Apr18

April 18
Timelapse video shows the last couple of weeks of demolition progress at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, with crews progress making progress on the Plutonium Reclamation Facility.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

Apr20 April 20

Hanford workers with CH2M recently reached 78 percent completion of removal of waste from 14 steel pipes buried vertically approximately 20 feet deep. These pipes, known as steel Vertical Pipe Units (VPUs), contain laboratory waste generated in Hanford’s 300 Area from 1954 through 1963.

Workers process these 14 VPUs in small sections and shear them off under a liquid grout and mix the contents.

They package the contents and transport it to the onsite engineered landfill – the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF) – for disposal.

The ERDF team supports this effort and so far has disposed of more than 560 tons of waste from these VPU’s.

Apr28 April 24
DOE-RL and workers with contractor CH2M are helping cleanup the Hanford Site in a variety of ways which include treatment of contaminated groundwater and cleanup of legacy waste sites. See how they helped progress the cleanup mission for the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year!!

Watch the YouTube video, here!

Apr26 April 26
Workers are making significant strides towards cleaning up what used to be the most highly contaminated waste disposal site at Hanford. This video tells the story of where the waste came from, how workers are removing it and where they are disposing of it.

Watch the YouTube video, here!


May 2017

May1 May 1
Workers have entered the startup phase of the Sludge Treatment Project, which has gone from design to installation and now acceptance testing. This vital testing is called the K Basin Acceptance Process and proves that the equipment works as designed and is ready to remove sludge.
May2 May 2
Check out the latest time lapse video from the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition, showing month-by-month progress. Demolition on the Plutonium Reclamation Facility is progressing from the outside in toward the canyon; canyon demolition should be underway in just a few days.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

May9_PFP May 9
While demolition occurs elsewhere at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, crews in the main processing facility are wrapping up demolition preparations there. This time lapse video shows crews loading out contaminated pieces of ventilation piping. They’ve removed, or prepared to remove during demolition, about 75 percent of the nearly 9,000 feet of ducting in the main facility.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

May9 May 9
Update on the emergency at Hanford. There was NO confirmation of a tunnel collapse at the PUREX tunnel. There is no evidence of a release of contamination and no reports of injuries. For the most up to date information, please visit the Hanford Site website, here.
May May 9
There is still no indication of a release of contamination from the hole in the PUREX tunnel. Crews are continuing to monitor the air in the vicinity and have not detected contamination.
'May' May 10
Hanford personnel began preparation work around 8 p.m. Pacific time on May 9 to stabilize and fill a 20-foot-by-20-foot opening over a tunnel that partially collapsed near the PUREX facility at the Hanford Site. This video, taken late on May 9, shows personnel laying down a gravel road that leads to the tunnel’s collapsed section. The road will provide a secure and clear path for workers to fill the tunnel opening.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

'May' May 10
We want to remind people that there is no contamination or radiological releases as a part of this event. Please follow the Hanford Site webpage for updates.
'May' May 10

As of 9:52 - Workers have begun to fill the hole in the tunnel, located near the PUREX Plant in the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site, with soil. Approximately 50 truckloads of soil will be used to fill the hole.

Hanford personnel worked throughout the night to stabilize site conditions near the collapsed section of the PUREX tunnel. Crews constructed a gravel road that leads to the tunnel’s collapsed section, which provided a stable and clear path for workers to fill the hole in the tunnel.

Workers performing the recovery actions are wearing protective suits and breathing masks. Also, additional measures are being taken to ensure workers are safe, such as restricting access to the immediate area and air monitoring.

The tunnel is one of two rail car tunnels constructed in the 1950s and 1960s near the site’s PUREX Plant to store contaminated equipment, loaded on rail cars, from plutonium production operations at the site in southeastern Washington state. The tunnels were constructed of wood and concrete with a soil covering approximately 8 feet deep. The tunnels, which are hundreds of feet long, are located east of the PUREX Plant and extend to the south. The plant and tunnels are located near the center of the Hanford Site, in an area known as the 200 East Area.

'May' May 10

It has been yet to be determined what caused the event. Right now our focus is on filling the hole. Surveillance of the tunnel is done 3-4 times a week and the issue was discovered yesterday. There are no groundwater threats from this event. We are posting up-to-date information on the Hanford Web page.

This video (click here) shows workers filling the hole in the roof of one of the PUREX tunnels, which are used to store rail cars containing contaminated equipment. The excavator places the dirt in the hole while the misting machine to the right of the excavator is used to control dust.

'May' May 10

Crews at the Hanford Site have filled the hole in the tunnel near the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX) with soil. Approximately 53 truckloads of soil, or approximately 550 cubic yards of soil, were used by crews to fill the hole.

Before allowing uncontrolled access to the area where the partial tunnel collapse occurred, officials plan to take additional near-term actions to ensure the safety of the workforce and the public. These actions may include placing a cover over the entire tunnel, which is approximately 360 feet long. Officials will also identify and implement longer-term actions. No radiological contamination was detected as a result of the collapse or while the hole was being filled. However, until additional actions can be taken to ensure safety, access to portions of the Hanford Site’s 200 East Area will continue to be restricted.

May15 May 15
Over the weekend at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX), workers made preparations to install a protective cover over the tunnel that partially collapsed last week. Part of preparations include moving in nearly 150 large concrete blocks to eventually secure the protective cover, which will protect employees and the environment from potential contamination in the event of additional collapse. It will also keep rain water from weighing down the soil that covers the length of the 360-foot long tunnel. Crews are carefully monitoring the weather; cover installation will only occur if conditions are calm to ensure employee safety.
May22

May 22
Crews Finish Placing Protective Cover over Tunnel at Hanford Site.

 

Read the press release, here.

May22_Cover May 22
Over the weekend, workers placed a protective cover over Tunnel 1 at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX).

Watch the YouTube video, here!

May25 May 25
Testing is complete of a mock-up floor saw for eventual use in the 324 Building. In April, crews tested the mock-up saw that will be used to cut through the concrete floor of the highly radioactive B Cell inside the 324 Building, to allow remote-operated technology remove contaminated soil below. Early indications from the testing are positive; improvements identified during testing will be made to the actual saw that will cut the floor. A mock-up strategy – testing equipment before it is deployed in a hazardous environment – is safer for employees and more efficient for the project.

Watch the YouTube video, here!

May30 May 30
A view from above shows what’s left of the Plutonium Reclamation Facility – the former processing canon and the gallery glove boxes that span the east and west walls of the canyon. In the coming days, crews will begin demolishing the canyon while demolition preparations wrap up in the two remaining buildings that make up the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

June 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.


July 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.


August 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.


September 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.


October 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.


November 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.


December 2017

'Mar9' March 9

CH2M employees from the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility (ERDF), an on-site compliant landfill have driven more than 100,000 miles without incident since CH2M took over the contract in September 2016.

Last Updated 11/16/2017 4:21 PM