The Hanford Tank Vapor Assessment Team led by the Savannah River National Laboratory will make its first visit to Hanford on Thursday.
The team has work planned through Tuesday that will include tours, briefings, procedure reviews, observation of work at the tank farms, meeting with the Chemical Vapors Solutions Team and meetings with focus groups of tank farm workers. Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council workers at the tank farms have been given information on how to meet with the team.
The team plans a return visit in mid-August and plans to issue an interim report in late September and a final report before January. Members of the team have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements and no information is expected to be released before mid-August.
Tank farm contractor Washington River Protection Solutions commissioned the national lab in South Carolina to conduct an independent review of tank vapor issues using nationally recognized experts.
"Even with improvements that have been made over the years to decrease vapor exposures at the tank farms, some workers are reporting symptoms related to chemical vapors," said Tom Fletcher, the Department of Energy's assistant manager of the tank farms, in a message to employees Wednesday.
DOE's goal is to decrease vapor exposures at the tank farms to as low as reasonably achievable.
This spring and summer, 42 workers have received medical evaluations because of possible exposure to chemical vapors that vent from Hanford's underground waste tanks.
DOE expects the Hanford Tank Vapor Assessment Team to make recommendations that can be used to continue improvements to protect workers, Fletcher said.
-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @HanfordNews