Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 34° Fog
News >  Washington

Possible worker radiation exposure at Hanford has halted a project

In this May 9, 2017  photo, a sign welcomes drivers to Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. (Manuel Valdes / Associated Press)
In this May 9, 2017 photo, a sign welcomes drivers to Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. (Manuel Valdes / Associated Press)
By Annette Cary Tri-City Herald

Demolition at a highly contaminated complex at the Hanford nuclear reservation has been halted.

The work was stopped after monitors worn by workers showed they might have inhaled radioactive particles.

Seven lapel monitors worn by workers over three days at the Plutonium Finishing Plant complex tested positive for radioactive particles at levels of concern, according to laboratory results.

The highest potential exposure was 11 millirems for one of the workers. For comparison, the average person in the United States is exposed to 300 millirems of radiation annually from natural sources, such as radon or radiation bombarding the Earth from outer space.

The elevated lapel monitor readings were recorded on three days starting Friday at two locations outside the plant’s demolition area.

After the Wednesday laboratory results showed elevated readings for four lapel pins that workers wore on their collars on Tuesday, the Department of Energy contractor for the project called a halt to demolition before it started that morning.

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council also issued a stop work order for its employees about noon Wednesday. HAMTC is an umbrella group for about 15 Hanford unions.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.


Annual health and dental insurance enrollment period open now

 (Courtesy Washington Healthplanfinder)
Sponsored

2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.