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Hanford: Tank Farm Closure Given Federal All-Clear to Resume Work

The tank farms at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington are cleared to resume work after a high-radiation incident briefly shut down much of the site last month.

In late August, Hanford workers responded to an emergency of a high radiation reading near a tank known as C-101.

In a new letter to Hanford workers, manager for the Office of River Protection Kevin Smith said it turns out there was no leak. He said “pre-existing contamination” on some concrete near the tank “could have been exposed when insulating blankets shifted.” There is a 4-inch square of contamination where elevated beta radiation levels were detected, he said.

A Hanford contractor is preparing to re-start pumping activities, Smith said, and some pre-pumping work will begin this week.

Washington state Department of Ecology officials say they are encouraged that radioactive waste removals will start up again. They added delays were fairly brief.

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.