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'Stop Work' Declared At Hanford To Check Vehicles For Contamination

File photo. Demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant at Hanford was halted on December 18, 2017.
U.S. Department of Energy
File photo. Demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant at Hanford was halted on December 18, 2017.

Hanford workers have called a “stop work” at the Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition site because of worries about radioactive contamination inside government vehicles.

It’s the same site where government contractors have struggled to tame the spread of contamination all winter.

The PFP is where the government turned liquids containing plutonium into hockey-puck-sized solid “buttons” for making bombs during the Cold War. Now the government is trying to tear it down to the slab.

Workers called the ‘stop work’ around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and crews began checking the interiors of about four-dozen government vehicles. Anyone at the demo site that uses these vehicles isn’t working right now, but office workers are still doing their jobs.

Contractors had cleared these vehicles before, but they surveyed the outsides not the interior. Now, workers want the inside of each vehicle to have a thorough going over. This is all important because waste has continued to spread at this old factory demo site.

So far, several workers, an office building and 36 cars have been found contaminated. About 200 workers have been largely idled since December.

Copyright 2018 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.