More Hanford workers get medical attention after smelling odors - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More Hanford workers get medical attention after smelling odors from tank

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HANFORD, WA - Three Hanford workers sought medical attention today after experiencing odors in the AP tank farm Monday morning. Three others requested an evaluation related to an odor event at the worksite last week according to a representative from Washington River Protection Solutions.

Twenty-six workers have been evaluated at the on-site medical facility since Thursday said Robert Roxburgh. Nineteen reported symptoms, while seven went for precautionary reasons; all have been released to return to work.

Monday, workers reported odors in the AP tank farm. Access to the farm is restricted while samples are gathered and analyzed. Workers were not wearing respiratory protection, nor were they required to, since recent sampling of the area has shown chemical vapor levels consistently below occupational standards.

Last Thursday, 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 (WRPS) says they've 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 use of a self-contained breathing apparatus supplied with bottled air according to WRPS.