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 Another Hanford emergency: Signs of another leaking tank

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PostSubject: Another Hanford emergency: Signs of another leaking tank   Sat May 20, 2017 10:36 am

http://www.king5.com/news/local/hanford/radioactive-contamination-found-of-clothes-of-hanford-worker/441263419

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Another Hanford emergency: Signs of another leaking tank

or the second time in less than two weeks, there's been a major incident at the Hanford nuclear site. Investigator Susannah Frame explains.

Susannah Frame , KING 8:49 PM. PDT May 19, 2017
 
 
 

 

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Hanford’s owner, The U.S. Department of Energy, is scrambling to deal with the second emergency at the nuclear site in 10 days’ time.
Signs have emerged that a massive underground double shell nuclear waste holding tank may be leaking.
The tank is known as AZ 101 and was put into service in 1976. The tank’s life was expected to be 20 years. Now it has been holding hot, boiling radioactive and chemically contaminated waste for 41 years.
A seven-person crew was undertaking a routine job around 7 p.m. Thursday night. They had deployed a remote controlled devise into the safety space of what is known as a double shell tank. The device is used to evaluate structural integrity of the aging tanks. Normally, equipment lowered in this two-foot wide outer shell of the tank comes up clean. But not this time. A radiation specialist on the crew detected higher than expected readings.
“Radiological monitoring showed contamination on the unit that was three times the planned limit. Workers immediately stopped working and exited the area according to procedure,” said Rob Roxburgh, deputy manager of WRPS Communications & Public Relations, the government contractor in charge of all 177 underground storage tanks at the nuclear site.
Detection equipment was then used to check for contamination that might have become airborne and adhered to the workers. They found radioactive material on one worker in three spots: on one shoe, on his shirt, and on his pants in the knee area. According to workers in the field, the contaminated items were removed, bagged and appropriately disposed of.
“Everybody was freaked, shocked, surprised,” said a veteran worker, who is in direct contact with crew members. “(The contamination) was not expected. They’re not supposed to find contamination in the annulus (safety perimeter) of the double shell tanks.”
Of Hanford’s 177 underground tanks, 28 of them are double-shells. They were built to withstand the test of time – a more robust model that was supposed to hold the worst nuclear waste on the reservation until a permanent solution for disposal is developed. But Thursday night’s incident means this could be the second double shell tank to fail.

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