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Hanford Cleanup Board Asks For Health Analysis On Tank Vapors

Washington state intends to sue the federal government if Hanford workers are not better protected at the tank farms on the site.
Anna King
/
Northwest News Network
Washington state intends to sue the federal government if Hanford workers are not better protected at the tank farms on the site.

The medical histories of radioactive cleanup workers should be examined more closely at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

That’s likely to be the advice Thursday morning from a cleanup advisory board at the nuclear site in southeast Washington.

These workers are dealing with massive underground tanks stewing with 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge. Some are leaking.

And for years, workers have reported breathing chemical vapors on the job. Now even more workers are reporting headaches, dizziness and having to leave work to go to the doctor.

So the Hanford Advisory Board is asking the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors to better analyze records on the health of tank farm workers. The board wants DOE to contact workers who were exposed to chemical vapors even as far back as 20 years ago, and see how their health is now.

DOE and its contractors have said they’re getting better equipment to test the air and reduce inhalation problems.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.