RICHLAND, Wash. – With Old Man Winter knocking at the door, EM Richland Operations Office (RL) contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) is preparing the Hanford Site’s 324 Building to continue important risk-reduction work as the weather turns colder.
Crews installed electric heaters to replace the building’s steam boiler. The new heaters are more efficient and effective, and they eliminate the need for costly maintenance of aging steam-system components in a facility being prepared for demolition. These weatherization activities are expected to help pave the way for additional progress during a bitter winter forecasted for the Pacific Northwest.
Progress includes making significant structural modifications to the facility over the next several months, as CPCCo prepares to remove contaminated soil from under the building. The team is currently focused on an area of the facility known as Room 18, where team members are installing structural supports — called micropiles — needed to ensure structural integrity of the building during soil removal.
The 324 Building supported research on highly radioactive materials during operations from 1966 to 1996. Removing the contaminated soil is a priority in Hanford’s risk-reduction mission and will allow for safe demolition of the facility.
“The team is doing a great job working in complex conditions to get this work done. Completing the work in Room 18, where we just finished grouting the first micropile, is a key step in this project, and doing so safely is key to our success,” says Rob Cantwell, CPCCo Outer Area End States director. “Our team has done a tremendous job preparing for this work, including training and practicing at our mock-up facility, so we ensure we do the job right.”
The mock-up of the 324 Building plays a key role in ensuring worker safety, as employees train, test equipment, and develop and familiarize themselves with procedures before performing work in a radiological environment.
“I’m proud of our team’s continued attention to detail and commitment to maintaining a deliberate pace to ensure a safe path forward on this challenging project,” said Michael Walker, CPCCo facility modifications manager. “Completing preparations inside Room 18 will be a key step to accessing the contaminated soil and reducing risk to the nearby Columbia River, moving us one step closer to completing one of the last two remaining projects along the river corridor.”
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