Tank farm closure an apparent false alarm

Tri-City HeraldApril 4, 2014 

A radiation warning sign is posted outside Hanford's C Tank Farm.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

— The S Tank Farm at Hanford was closed Friday morning for what turned out to be a false alarm.

The concern was possible tank vapors, but no vapors had been smelled and no workers had symptoms, according to Washington River Protection Solutions. The closure, which the contractor called a precaution, lasted about 90 minutes. Nobody was in the farm before it was closed and nobody was allowed to enter during the closure.

On Friday, workers returned to work at the A Farms complex wearing respirators, after most work there had been stopped because of three vapor incidents in recent works, according to Washington River Protection Solutions. A discussion evidently was held in the morning between some workers and managers about planned actions.

The PowerPoint presentation used to brief workers Thursday said that Hanford would immediately move to requiring respirators at the A Farm complex. Work activities would be reviewed for industrial hygiene safety, it said. "These controls are to be put in place while long-term actions are finalized and implemented," the presentation said.

Mission Support Alliance workers also can now resume providing support services, such as crane operations and information technology support, in the tank farms. Work had stopped while employees were given more information, but the stop work order has been lifted.

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