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Workers with Hanford contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company test a robotic crawler on the roof of a former fuel storage bunker. The crawler was used to safely evaluate the load capacity of the roof as part of preparations for future demolition a
Workers with Hanford contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company test a robotic crawler on the roof of a former fuel storage bunker.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers recently sent a robotic crawler on an advance scouting mission to ensure the safety of crews preparing an aging structure near the Hanford Site’s K West Reactor for demolition.

EM contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) deployed the remotely operated device – which weighs about 1,000 pounds – to verify the structural integrity of the roof of a former storage bunker for fuel oil. Workers will need to walk across the roof to evaluate the contents of tanks in the bunker and prepare for other demolition activities.

“Worker safety is always our top priority,” said Mark French, federal project director at EM’s Richland Operations Office. “This remotely operated crawler gives workers the confidence the roof will hold them and their equipment as they do their work to prepare to demolish this bunker.”

During Hanford Site operations, the bunker stored nearly 2 million gallons of fuel oil to support a powerhouse that supplied cooling water to the K West Reactor. Preparations will continue through 2020, with demolition of the storage bunker expected to begin next year. The work is part of ongoing efforts to reduce risk to the nearby Columbia River.

“The crawler plays a key role in increasing the safety of this project,” said Jim Rush, deputy vice president for CHPRC’s K Basin Operations. “The versatility of this device may also provide opportunities for its use on other Hanford cleanup projects.”

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