RICHLAND, Wash. – Demolition began last week on a vault at the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) at the Hanford Site, after workers finished removing debris that had been on the ground since December 2017, when work stopped after a spread of contamination.
Since last September, EM Richland Operations Office (RL) and contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) have safely packaged and transferred nearly 2,500 tons of debris from around the PFP to Hanford’s onsite landfill, the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility.
The current phase of the work — demolition of the remaining lower-risk portions of the PFP main processing facility and vault — is expected to continue through June. The lower-risk debris removal and demolition activities are being done under a revised demolition strategy and safety measures implemented last fall.
“The new strategy and enhanced safety controls have proved effective in protecting workers, the public, and the environment,” said Tom Teynor, RL director for the project. “I appreciate the continued commitment of all involved in this critical risk-reduction effort.”
Remaining work identified as higher risk will require an independent assessment to gauge the team’s readiness to proceed, as well as approval from the DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington State Department of Ecology.
This animation shows the revised demolition approach and enhanced controls, which incorporated the input of regulators, workers, and an expert panel commissioned after the 2017 spread of contamination. Pauses are also built into the schedule to review lessons learned and incorporate additional input.
“The team’s progress toward safe completion of the lower-risk work is the result of excellent collaboration between PFP workers, labor organizations, DOE, and our regulators,” said Jason Casper, CHPRC vice president for the PFP closure project. “We will continue to work at a safe and deliberate pace to ensure the protection of our workers, the public, and the environment.”
RL will continue to post weekly updates on PFP activities here.