Richland — Work was stopped Wednesday morning at parts of the Hanford vitrification plant after contaminated soil was detected under a birds nest, according to Bechtel National.
The amount of contaminated soil was small and contamination was at a low level, said Bechtel spokesman Todd Nelson.
About 130 workers who had been in two buildings that are are not yet enclosed were surveyed for contamination. None was found, Nelson said.
The workers were at the plants High Level Waste and Pretreatment Facilities.
The vitrification plant is being built to treat up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste, but none of the waste has been pumped to the plants campus as construction continues.
Routine radiological surveys are conducted, however, to monitor for waste that might be spread from the rest of the Hanford nuclear reservation.
The 586-square-mile nuclear reservation is contaminated from the past production of plutonium for the nations nuclear weapons program.
The nest above the contamination may have been a swallows nest, Nelson said.
Radiological surveys of the plant were continuing Wednesday afternoon.
Any areas with contamination will be cordoned off until they can be cleaned up, Nelson said.
Vit plant employees will return to the construction site Thursday, Nelson said.