UPDATE: 20 Hanford workers checked out following "odor" scare in - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: 20 Hanford workers checked out following "odor" scare in and around some tank farms

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FROM Washington River Protection Solutions: Twenty Hanford workers sought medical attention Thursday and Friday related to odors experienced at the worksite Thursday (12 on Thursday afternoon, two Thursday evening and six more on Friday morning). Thirteen of the workers reported having various symptoms; seven sought a medical evaluation as a precaution. Nineteen of the workers have been cleared to return to work; the remaining one is still being evaluated as of Friday afternoon.

The odors were reported in several areas in and around the A, AX and AP Tank Farms, near where waste was being transferred from double-shell tank AY-102 to a tank in AP Farm. Industrial hygiene workers gathered air samples and analyzed data, which found chemical concentrations well below regulatory standards.

Chemical vapors are generated in the radioactive and chemical waste stored in underground tanks at Hanford. Washington River Protection Solutions has taken a number of steps to manage the hazards posed by chemical vapors. These steps include engineered controls, setting up restricted areas where known vapor sources exist, training employees to strict procedures and supplying workers with protective equipment, up to self-contained breathing apparatus supplied with bottled air.

An independent assessment led by a national laboratory provided a road map for enhancing the tank farms vapor protection program. Implementation of a detailed plan began 15 months ago. Completing the plan will result in enhanced protection for Hanford’s tank farm workers.