Hanford

Fire at Hanford radioactive lab sends workers to hospital

The 222-S Laboratory at Hanford is used for radio-chemistry analysis of highly radioactive samples, some of them from Hanford underground waste tanks.
The 222-S Laboratory at Hanford is used for radio-chemistry analysis of highly radioactive samples, some of them from Hanford underground waste tanks. Tri-City Herald

A Hanford laboratory was evacuated and two workers went to the hospital after a small fire shortly before noon Thursday.

A worker at the 222-S Laboratory in central Hanford put out the fire with a hand-held fire extinguisher while other employees pulled the fire alarm and called 911, according to a message to employees of Washington River Protection Solutions.

The Hanford Fire Department responded and confirmed the fire was out. Surveys were done to verify that no radioactive material was involved.

About 250 laboratory employees evacuated the lab facilities, with all employees accounted for at 12:11 p.m. and sent to air-conditioned office buildings.

One employee was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland with symptoms of heat stress and later reported symptoms of respiratory irritation.

A second employee was taken to the Richland hospital after reporting symptoms of respiratory irritation.

Workers were allowed back into the lab at 3:15 p.m.

The 222-S Laboratory accepts samples of some of the Hanford Site’s most radioactive and hazardous chemical waste to determine the content of dangerous substances down to parts per trillion.

Work is done under fume hoods or in the lab’s 11 radiation hot cells, with operators outside the cells operating tools within the cells.

Most of the analyses are of high-level radioactive waste from Hanford’s underground waste tanks. Information is used to determine what wastes can be combined within tanks and to help plan how workers can be protected while working at specific tanks.

No other information was available Thursday afternoon.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533
  Comments