Demolition should start within a few weeks on the most contaminated portion of the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant.
The Plutonium Finishing Plant is considered the most hazardous demolition project at the Hanford nuclear reservation.
And the area known as the Plutonium Reclamation Facility was added to one end of the plant and includes a tall section called a canyon, where skinny tanks were hung for use in a process to remove valuable plutonium from scrap material.
Workers are tearing back the building to get to the canyon, which stands 34 feet tall and covers a 30-by-66-foot area.
Because of potential airborne contamination, just a 2-foot-wide slice of the building, top to bottom, will be taken down each day, said Tom Teynor, DOE manager for the Plutonium Finishing Plant.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has fed extensive information from sampling in the canyon into a chemical air dispersion model to determine how much work could be done safely daily.
Larger sections of the canyon could be demolished each day, depending on monitoring results for air contamination during initial work.
The Plutonium Reclamation Facility is expected to be demolished before the end of June.
The plant’s main processing facility and the fan house and ventilation stack must also be demolished to meet a legal deadline at the end of September.
A revised schedule calls for the main processing facility to be cleaned out for demolition by the end of May, with demolition completed in August. The fan house also could be ready for demolition next month.