RICHLAND, WA - A crew of workers was evacuated from the Plutonium Finishing Plant work site Friday afternoon just before five when an alarm sounded, detecting radiation in the vicinity.
Reporter Rex Carlin looked into the incident more today, and learned that it happened inside the work area at the Plutonium Reclamation Facility on the site at around 4:45 Friday afternoon. A source familiar with the situation told us the alarm sounded and workers immediately left the area.
Radiological surveys were conducted on the workers, and low levels of contamination were detected on workers' outer gear, but not on their bodies or their interior layers of protection.
No levels of contamination were found outside of the Reclamation Facility work area.
The contractor in charge of the demolition activities at the PFP - CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company - released a statement today reiterating that nobody was hurt Friday afternoon.
They haven't determined what caused the incident, and while recovery activity is going on at the PFP today, demolition activities haven't resumed yet.
The following is a full statement from CH2M HILL regarding the incident.
"CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company’s goal is to safely and compliantly demolish Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP). Employees reacted safely and appropriately when contamination higher than expected was discovered during demolition. No employees were hurt, and the contamination was contained in restricted areas immediately adjacent to the PFP demolition zone. In addition to extensive training, the PFP team has numerous safety precautions in place, including extensive air monitoring, to protect themselves and the environment from inherent risks like this during demolition of a building as hazardous as PFP. The PFP team will incorporate lessons learned from this incident to reduce the risk of recurrence."