Office of Environmental Management

Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant Demolition Making Significant Progress

June 11, 2019

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RICHLAND, Wash. – The footprint of the Hanford Site’s Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) is shrinking. Since beginning lower-risk demolition earlier this spring, workers with EM Richland Operations Office (RL) contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) have safely removed a concrete vault and two stairwells attached to the PFP Main Processing Facility.

These time-lapse videos highlight demolition of the PFP vault and one of the stairwells.

A view of the site where crews tore down a stairwell attached to the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s Main Processing Facility.
A view of the site where crews tore down a stairwell attached to the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s Main Processing Facility.

The demolition activities began after crews finished removing existing debris that had been on the ground since December 2017, when work stopped after a spread of low levels of contamination. Since September 2018, CHPRC has safely packaged and transferred nearly 5,000 tons of debris to Hanford’s onsite regulated landfill.

Demolition of the remaining lower-risk portions of the main processing facility is expected to be completed in early August.

The demolition activities are being done under a revised demolition strategy and safety controls implemented last fall.

“DOE is encouraged by the safe, steady progress made on this critical risk-reduction effort,” said Tom Teynor, RL federal project director. “The safety controls in place since last fall continue to prove effective in protecting workers, the public, and the environment.”

Before-and-after photos show how workers safely removed a concrete vault associated with the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s Main Processing Facility. Demolition began in April and was completed in mid-May.
Before-and-after photos show how workers safely removed a concrete vault associated with the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s Main Processing Facility. Demolition began in April and was completed in mid-May.
Before-and-after photos show how workers safely removed a concrete vault associated with the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s Main Processing Facility. Demolition began in April and was completed in mid-May.

Higher-risk demolition activities are expected to begin in August, pending DOE and regulatory agency approval. That work, on more contaminated portions of the facility, includes demolishing the main processing facility’s two former processing lines and the tunnels beneath, and removing the remaining rubble from the Plutonium Reclamation Facility demolition.

This animation shows the revised demolition approach and enhanced controls, which reflect worker input. Pauses are built into the schedule to review lessons learned and incorporate additional input before proceeding.

“Excellent collaboration between our workforce, labor, management, and DOE is resulting in safe and efficient progress on the lower-risk demolition,” said Jason Casper, CHPRC vice president for the PFP Closure Project. “I’m proud of our team’s continued attention to detail and commitment to maintaining a deliberate pace to ensure a safe path forward.”

RL will continue to post weekly updates on PFP activities here.

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