Hanford

New manager named for troubled Hanford demolition project

Partial walls of the Plutonium Reclamation Facility remained standing before most demolition of the building was completed in mid-December and a spread of radioactive contamination was discovered. The facility is part of the Hanford nuclear reservation’s Plutonium Finishing Plant.
Partial walls of the Plutonium Reclamation Facility remained standing before most demolition of the building was completed in mid-December and a spread of radioactive contamination was discovered. The facility is part of the Hanford nuclear reservation’s Plutonium Finishing Plant. Courtesy Department of Energy

Leadership for the troubled Plutonium Finishing Plant demolition project at Hanford is switching again.

John Lehew, who was the president of contractor CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. from 2008-12, has been named to manage the preparations to restart demolition of the highly contaminated plant.

Demolition of the nuclear reservation plant stopped in December after radioactive contamination spread.

Workers’ vehicles were contaminated with radioactive particles and at least 11 workers inhaled or ingested small amounts of radioactive particles.

The Washington Department of Health has detected very small amounts of airborne radioactive contamination miles from the plant in the past year.

In late January, the Department of Energy ordered a change in management of the project, and the contractor parent company, Jacobs Engineering Group, assumed control of it.

John Lehew
John Lehew Supplied photo

Former contractor president John Fulton was named by Jacobs to take over what DOE called the “recovery” of the spread in late January.

Lehew was picked last week to take over the transition from recovery to the restart of demolition.

Demolition will not be restarted until an expert panel assembled by DOE provides feedback on a plan to correct problems and a proposed new approach to demolition, which isn’t yet public.

Lehew left Hanford to work as a vice president at CH2M’s corporate headquarters in Denver. CH2M has since been purchased by Jacobs.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews

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