Another six people working at or near waste tank farms at the Hanford Site reported symptoms believed to be linked to chemical vapors from the tanks, a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor said.
Symptoms reported previously included coughing, burning eyes, headaches, nose bleeds and dizziness.
It was the second day in a row and third in the past two weeks workers have reported symptoms linked to chemical vapors from the underground waste tanks. According to the report, HEPA filters prevent radioactive particles from venting into the atmosphere at the tank farms, but do not capture many other nonradioactive chemicals.
THAT MAKES 17 REPORTED ...
11 WORKERS SICKENED BY UNKNOWN FUMES FROM UNDERGROUND TANKS, SOME WITH NOSE BLEEDS OR COUGHING UP BLOOD.
MARCH 25, 2014
“The place is falling apart and they (WRPS) aren't doing anything to fix it,” KING NEWS was told.
Several employees who spoke with the reporter Tuesday were upset that WRPS (Washington River Protection Solutions) has yet to install additional monitoring equipment in the tank farm areas. There is monitoring equipment available that can detect chemical releases but so far, none has been installed.
[PLEASE BE AWARE:The Hanford site represents 2/3rds of the nation's highest-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States.
It's also a US Navy nuclear submarine reactor dry storage site, located at 200 East Area Tank farms Trench 94, a trench containing sealed reactor sections of 114 US Navy submarines (as of 2008. The site now stores reactors for USS Seawolf (SSN-575) and USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599).
114 reactor sections!
Boggles the mind how much radiation is up there!]
“It’s BS,” said one worker. “We’ve expressed our opinion about it. We’ve said you haven’t taken the time to put in monitors and they say ‘It’s in the works’. Yet they keep sending us out to work. They’re not putting safety first.”
The first two workers to fall ill in the last week breathed in fumes that “tasted like copper” on Wednesday, March 19. The men work for the government contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) which is in charge of all 177 underground tanks at the nuclear site. To date, both are still suffering effects of breathing in the vapors: headache, chest pain, difficulty breathing, nose bleeds and sore throats. One employee has coughed up blood.
Sources who work in this area of Hanford tell KING it is unknown exactly what the employees ingested into their lungs, but that this is “extremely unusual” to have symptoms persist this long.
The next batch of employees to get sick breathed in fumes today, Tuesday, March 25. Four WRPS employees breathed in vapors at 9:00 am and were immediately transported to a medical facility on the Hanford site, known as HPMC, the Hanford Occupational Health Services clinic. After that incident, the tank farm, identified as AY-AZ farm was evacuated, deemed a Vapor Control Zone. Between 20 and 30 people were working there at the time.
Immediately afterward two employees from what’s known as the industrial hygiene department of WRPS, who monitor chemical exposures, were sent out to investigate and they too, had reactions to the fumes and were transported to the onsite medical facility. Those employees allegedly were not wearing protective devices such as respirators.
Sources tell KING 5 that three additional employees got sick from ingesting fumes later on Tuesday. These WRPS employees were working in a different portion of the tank farm complex, known as the S-SX Farm, located about 8 to 10 miles from the AY-AZ farm. That location was also deemed a Vapor Control Zone and was evacuated. Sources say two were transported to the hospital by ambulance and one was transported to the HPMC.
Hanford’s underground waste tanks are vented to the atmosphere.
HANFORD HAD SERIOUS LEAKS BACK IN JUNE OF 2013...
The Hanford site produced plutonium that was used to manufacture the bomb that blew up Hiroshima. Now it’s home to a different kind of horror: It’s used to store nuclear waste while a plant is built on site to treat that waste. But the Department of Energy treatment plant project has been plagued by delays, and tanks that were designed to hold the waste temporarily keep falling apart.
A YEAR AGO, MANY WERE ACCUSING THE FEDS OF FOOT-DRAGGING AND IGNORING THIS SITUATION WHILE THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION INCREASED...ONE YEAR AGO, AND FOR DECADES BEFORE THAT HANFORD HAS BEEN A TOXIC NIGHTMARE!!!
One could fill a book just discussing the issue of the damage done with the release of radioactive isotopes into the air and water, especially to those people living downwind from the Hanford site, and to the Native Americans who live along the Columbia River and depended on it as a source of food. A mass lawsuit brought by 2,000 people living downwind from Hanford against the federal government has been in the court system for many years.
The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that water samples taken beneath the leaking tank “had an 800,000-count of radioactivity and a high dose rate, which means that workers must reduce their time in the area.”
IT SURE IS NOT THE FIRST TIME HANFORD HAS HAD SERIOUS PROBLEMS! ITS HISTORY OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION, SOME OF IT QUITE INTENTIONAL IT SEEMS, GOES WAY BACK!
From a February,2013 editorial in the Tacoma News Tribune:
<<Hanford hosts 56 million gallons of hot reactor byproducts in 177 steel-walled underground tanks, some dating to the heyday of Betty Grable. Collectively, they’ve leaked an estimated 1 million gallons of waste into the desert soil, creating radioactive plumes that are gradually headed for the Columbia River.
The Department of Energy put a stop to the big leaks years ago by pumping out liquids from the tanks, leaving crusty, gooey, toxic sludges inside. Water has been penetrating one of these supposedly “stabilized” tanks. The lyrically named T-111 has reportedly resumed leaking at a rate of 150 to 300 gallons a year.
This is a reminder that the nation’s largest concentration of nuclear waste is stored under insanely makeshift conditions. The oldest tanks, including T-111, were engineered to last 20 years. They were built in 1943 and 1944.
THE TANKS WERE MEANT TO LAST JUST 20 YEARS, BUT THEY WERE PUT IN THE GROUND 70 YEARS AGO!!!
70 YEARS, OVER 3 TIMES WHAT THEY WERE DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND, AND THOSE WHO RUN THAT HATEFUL SITE KNOW THIS!!
Even Hanford’s newer, double-walled tanks – built between the late 1960s and early 1980s – are slowly rotting in the ground. One sprang a leak last fall.
The contents of all these rusty buckets had been destined for the infinitely safer repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., whose design promises to hold public exposure to radiation to a tiny fraction of natural background levels for 1 million years. That project was headed for opening when Reid and an obliging Obama administration cut it out of the budget in 2010.
The chief prospect remaining for the decontamination of Hanford is a $12.3 billion plant that would “vitrify” the tank wastes into big glass cylinders ready for burial.
Work on the vitrification plant has been progressing at roughly the pace of the Tower of Babel. It is supposed to open in 2019, but then what? There’s no place to bury the cylinders.
The Energy Department took a quarter of a century to get Yucca Mountain so close to accepting Hanford’s most deadly waste. Now the whole process is being started from scratch.
The AP reports that Energy Secretary Moniz toured the facility on Wednesday and promised Washington a new plan this summer for tackling difficulties with the waste treatment project. Don’t hold your breath (unless your visiting the site).>>
From a statement by Gov. Jay Inslee:
“Last night I received a call from United States Energy Secretary Moniz informing me that the US Department of Energy discovered what appears to be an elevated contamination level reading in the leak detection pit outside and adjacent to the Hanford double-shell tank AY-102. This is most disturbing news for Washington. It is not clear yet whether that contamination is coming directly from the outer shell of the AY-102 but it must be treated with the utmost seriousness. The discovery was made during a routine pumping outside the tank when pumps are also surveyed for radioactivity.
Even before learning of this new development, I told the Secretary I continue to have serious concerns regarding the pace of addressing the leaking tanks. We will be insisting on an acceleration of remediation of all the tanks, not just AY-102. USDOE has a legal obligation to clean up Hanford and remove or treat that waste, and we ensure that legal obligation is fulfilled.”
ALMOST A YEAR LATER....STILL LEAKING!
From TV station KING5:
The [treatment] plant has been delayed for years by continued problems and is not expected to meet a 2019 deadline to be up and running.TWO MONTHS LATER, IN AUGUST, 2013, HANFORD HAD MORE SERIOUS LEAKS.
So the tank designed to hold the waste until then is now possibly leaking, no longer dependable, and there is no plan we know of for quickly pumping it out to another double walled tank.
That leaves the DOE and its contractors with fewer places to store 56 million gallons of waste and no plant built yet to treat it.
KEPR TV, Aug 22, 2013: “Stuff goes on out there all the time that we don’t know about, but it’s scary,” said [former Hanford worker Chris] Anderson. [...] A handful of areas were placed in “take-over” condition, where it’s all hands on deck [...] A rep from the Department of Energy doesn’t remember an alert being issued in at least the past seven years. [...] Four employees at the tank farm went to the hospital to be checked for radiation exposure. [...] “As long as this kind of thing is going on, I won’t be living here, we all won’t be living here,” said Anderson.
Worst Hanford tank may be leaking into soil
It appears the most dangerous material on earth is out of its tank and out of their control, and there’s no immediate plan on how to solve the problem.
A crew working on the leak detection pit pulled a piece of equipment from it and measured a whopping contamination reading — 800,000 dpm,or disintegrations per minute.
The KING 5 Investigators, in a multi-part investigation, "Hanford's Dirty Secrets" exposed that the federal government's contractor in charge of all 177 underground storage tanks at the site, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), failed to investigate scientific evidence of the leak for nearly a year before conducting a thorough inspection in August 2012. Despite signs of the leak and advice from veteran employees that the tank was compromised and leaking nuclear by-products in 2011, WRPS and the DOE made the leak public in October 2012. In addition, KING 5 revealed WRPS wasted millions of tax dollars on the tank during the months signs of the leak were discounted by managers. Instead of confronting evidence that the tank was broken, WRPS forged ahead with engineering, design, and equipment procurement work to upgrade the tank to eventually be a waste feed delivery source to the site's Waste Treatment Plant. Now that work is useless because of the tank's condition.
BUT THIS FAILURE GOES MUCH FARTHER BACK...
From 1944 to 1971, pump systems drew cooling water from the river and, after treating this water for use by the reactors, returned it to the river. Before being released back into the river, the used water was held in large tanks known as retention basins for up to six hours. Longer-lived isotopes were not affected by this retention, and several terabecquerels entered the river every day. These releases were kept secret by the federal government.
Radiation was later measured downstream as far west as the Washington and Oregon coasts.
The plutonium separation process also resulted in the release of radioactive isotopes into the air, which were carried by the wind throughout southeastern Washington and into parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and British Columbia. Downwinders were exposed to radionuclides, particularly iodine-131, with the heaviest releases during the period from 1945 to 1951. These radionuclides filtered into the food chain via contaminated fields where dairy cows grazed; hazardous fallout was ingested by communities who consumed the radioactive food and drank the milk. Most of these airborne releases were a part of Hanford's routine operations, while a few of the larger releases occurred in isolated incidents.
THE TEA ROOM PUBLISHED A BLOG IN JUNE OF 2013 TITLED "AMERICA'S 'MEGA-FUKUSHIMA' LEAKING AGAIN. MANHATTAN PROJECT WASTE SITE"
53 MILLION GALLONS OF NUCLEAR WASTE, STORAGE TANKS 50 YEARS PAST THEIR EXPIRATION, SHODDY STORAGE MATERIAL, DRY DOCK FOR 114 SPENT NUCLEAR SUBMARINE REACTORS, AND OVER 200 SQUARE MILES OF CONTAMINATED GROUNDWATER!
WELCOME TO THE HANFORD, WASHINGTON NUCLEAR WASTE SITE!
The Hanford Site occupies 586 square miles (1,518 km2) in Benton County, Washington (Coordinates: 46°38′51″N 119°35′55″W), roughly equivalent to half of the total area of Rhode Island. This land is currently uninhabited and is closed to the general public. It is a desert environment receiving under 10 inches of annual precipitation, covered mostly by shrub-steppe vegetation. The Columbia River flows along the site for approximately 50 miles (80 km), forming its northern and eastern boundary. The original site was 670 square miles (1,740 km2) and included buffer areas across the river in Grant and Franklin counties.
Most of the reactors were shut down between 1964 and 1971, with an average individual life span of 22 years. The last reactor, N Reactor, continued to operate as a dual-purpose reactor, being both a power reactor used to feed the civilian electrical grid via the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) and a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons. N Reactor operated until 1987. Since then, most of the Hanford reactors have been entombed ("cocooned") to allow the radioactive materials to decay, and the surrounding structures have been removed and buried. The B-Reactor has not been cocooned.
The United States Department of Energy assumed control of the Hanford Site in 1977.
In 1949, an INTENTIONAL release known as the "Green Run" released 8,000 curies of iodine-131 over two days. Another source of contaminated food came from Columbia River fish, an impact felt disproportionately by Native American communities who depended on the river for their customary diets. A U.S. government report released in 1992 estimated that 685,000 curies of radioactive iodine-131 had been released into the river and air from the Hanford site IN JUST 3 YEARS, between 1944 and 1947.
The Washington State Department of Health collaborated with the citizen-led Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN) to publicize data about the health effects of Hanford's operations. HHIN reports concluded that residents who lived downwind from Hanford or who used the Columbia River downstream were exposed to elevated doses of radiation that placed them at increased risk for various cancers and other diseases. A mass tort lawsuit brought by two thousand Hanford downwinders against the federal government has been in the court system for many years.
The first six plaintiffs went to trial in 2005.
On February 15, 2013, Governor Jay Inslee announced a tank storing radioactive waste at the site is leaking liquids on average of 150 to 300 gallons per year. On February 22, 2013, the Governor stated that "6 more tanks at Hanford site" than previously thought were "leaking radioactive waste"
ONLY 7 LEAKY TANKS? REALLY? EVEN WHEN HE SAID IT WAS "JUST ONE", NO RISK?
WOULD INSLEE LET HIS FAMILY LIVE NEAR THAT THING?
As of 2013, there are 177 tanks at Hanford (149 having a single shell). Older single shell tanks were initially used for storing radioactive liquid waste. The tanks were designed to last 20 years.
ONE TANK contains an estimated 447,000 gallons of radioactive sludge!
149 TANKS THAT WE KNOW ABOUT, ALL STORED IN INEFFICIENT MATERIAL KNOWN TO DETERIORATE IN JUST 20 YEARS...
TIME'S UP ON THOSE!
TIME IS UP FOR HANFORD, PERIOD!
ACTUALLY, TIME WAS UP ON HANFORD DECADES AGO, BUT WHO CARES HOW MANY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO CANCER-CAUSING RADIATION WHEN THE FEDS SAVED BILLIONS ON MAKING IT RIGHT?
JUST DON'T SPEND THE MONEY TO FIX IT, JUST DON'T STOP THE LEAKS.
WHAT'S A FEW THOUSAND HUMAN LIVES AND A HUGE AREA CONTAMINATED FOREVER BY RADIATION?
SO WHAT IF THE COLUMBIA RIVER AND EVERYTHING NEAR IT IS POLLUTED BY NUCLEAR WASTE?