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Explosive Demolitions To Change Hanford’s Skyline

February 17, 2011 - 12:00pm


284W Power House on the Hanford Site

284W Power House on the Hanford Site

RICHLAND, WASH. – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) will use explosives to demolish several structures near the center of the Hanford Site on two separate days – February 18 and March 4.

CHPRC subcontractor, Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI), will detonate explosive charges to bring down industrial structures at central Hanford that have stood for over 50 years.

On February 18, explosive demolition of the support structures of the 284 West Power House will take down two 250-foot-tall exhaust chimneys, two 90-foot-tall air filter structures, and one 140-foot-tall water tower.

Then in early March, demolition activities will move to the 200 East Area to bring down a nearly identical set of structures: the 284 East Power House’s exhaust chimneys, air filter structures, a coal silo, and a water tower. Both water towers are painted with a “Work Safely” motto that has greeted workers at the 200 West and 200 East areas of the Hanford site since they were constructed in the early 1950s.

“We’re moving forward with explosive demolitions thanks to $1.6 million in Recovery Act funding,” said Al Farabee, DOE’s Federal Project Director for Hanford’s 200 Area Remediation Project. “The explosive demolition work on the outbuildings allows for upcoming conventional demolition on the power houses,” he said.

Workers have separated the stacks and air filter structures from the Power House structures with oxygen torches and demolition equipment, and weakened the structures (much like cutting a wedge into a tree) so that they fall according to plan. In addition, exclusion zones to ensure worker safety during the demolition have required temporary closures of roads and buildings on the Hanford Site in the area of the demolition. As an added precaution, both demolitions are being performed on days when fewer Hanford workers are expected to be on site to minimize these concerns.

“Given the sheer height of the structures, explosive demolition was selected as the safer method of demolition,” said Kurt Kehler, CHPRC’s Vice President and D&D Project Manager. “This approach eliminates work at extreme heights, reduces the use of heavy equipment in a congested area, and achieves savings in both the cost and total number of hours required to perform these demolitions. Performing the demolitions concurrently also provides efficiencies in training, planning and mobilization costs.”

Clauss Construction, which prepared the stacks for demolition, has been performing demolition and decommissioning work for 16 years. CDI, which will perform the demolition under CHPRC oversight, has performed similar work for DOE contractors around the nation.

The 284 West and 284 East Power Houses were built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, burning coal to provide steam for chemical processes that were part of Hanford’s plutonium-processing mission in support of national defense, as well as space heat for nearby offices and other facilities. The air filter structures, known as baghouses, were filtration units added in the early 1980s to reduce the pollution coming out of the stacks. The 284 West Power House went out of service in 1992. The 284 East Power House went out of service in 1994. The water tanks were disconnected in 1998.

**Video and still photographs will be provided**

CHPRC will be documenting both demolitions and will provide video footage and still photographs to media after each day’s demolition is complete.