RICHLAND -- Ojeda Business Ventures, a small Richland construction company, has been awarded a Hanford environmental cleanup subcontract worth $3.8 million.
Washington Closure Hanford, which is cleaning up Hanford along the Columbia River, awarded the subcontract for work to clean up at least 13 waste sites near Hanford's F Reactor where radiation research also was done.
"Thanks to funding from the recovery act, we can finish all of the remaining F Area work,"said Mark French, Department of Energy project director for the Hanford river corridor, in a statement.
Ojeda Business is scheduled to begin work in August and complete the job by April 2011.
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The work includes cleaning up underground piping and sewers used for both routine utility service and also process lines for the reactor and nearby laboratories.
Ojeda Business also will clean up the sites of a former maintenance garage and electrical substation, as well as a coal pit used to feed the F Area's steam plant.
The 13 waste sites are contaminated with both radioactive materials and also hazardous chemicals, such as mercury, PCBs, asbestos, hexavalent chromium, pesticides and volatile organic compounds.
F Area was one of Hanford's first three plutonium production reactors built as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. The reactor produced plutonium from 1945-65 for the nation's nuclear weapons program.
The reactor already has been torn down to little more than its radioactive core, sealed up and reroofed -- or cocoooned -- to let radiation decay to more manageable levels over 75 years.
Near the reactor, scientists established a life sciences research laboratory and farm to learn more about radiation by studying the effects of radiation on animals and plants. About 1,000 animals at a time were kept at the farm, including rodents, cats, dogs, cows, sheep, goats and pigs.
Most of the waste near F Reactor was cleaned up by late 2008. The waste included large quantities of buried radioactive manure. Workers also recovered animal carcasses, some packed into a railcar, and sawdust in bags and boxes.
Workers dug up more than 408,000 tons of waste and uncovered 300 bottles of laboratory waste.
The remaining 13 waste sites that Ojeda Business will clean up include some work identified after the initial cleanup planning for F Area was done. If additional sites are discovered, Ojeda Business also could clean up those.
It will be the first project for Ojeda Business with substantial contamination, moving the company into a new business area, said managing partner Luis Ojeda. It has subcontracted with Babcock Services, which has that experience, and with Watts Construction.
Ojeda Business has specialized in government projects and has done work for Fluor at Hanford, for CH2M Hill, for U.S. Fish and Wildlife and for the General Services Administration in Richland and Wenatchee. It has 22 employees.
Washington Closure limited the subcontract award to businesses that qualify with the Small Business Administration as small, disadvantaged business. Ojeda Business is Hispanic owned.
"Aside from some miscellaneous surface debris, such as telephone poles and railroad tracks, we will be done with cleanup in the F Area once Ojeda finishes its work," said Jon Fancher, Washington Closure project manager, in a statement.