Two air alarms send 350 Hanford workers into take cover - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Two air alarms send 350 Hanford workers into take cover

Posted: Updated:

8:00 PM UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - Around 350 Hanford workers were sent for cover this morning as two air alarms sounded off at the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

Hanford officials are describing what happened as an air monitor that went off this morning while crews were removing one of the gallery glove boxes on the Plutonium Reclamation Facility at the PFP site.

"Approximately 350 employees who work at PFP were requested to take a take cover, which meant go inside a building while we could determine the extent of contamination," said CH2M Spokesperson Destry Henderson.

CH2M is the contractor on the PFP demolition project, which is supposed to be finished before the end of 2017. Henderson says the investigators did find spots of contamination around the affected area today.

"Some spots of low-level contamination were found nearby the PFP demolition area," said Henderson. "Those have been fixed, those have been secured, and additional surveys will continue throughout the weekend."

Henderson says there were no reported injuries today for any of the 350 workers affected today. The Hanford site is on a four day a week schedule, so workers won't be affected tomorrow because they weren't going to be at work anyway.

Henderson says the investigation into why this contamination was detected is still ongoing.

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9:08 AM UPDATE:

HANFORD- NBC Right Now is told 350 employees work in this PFP area affected by the take cover order issued earlier Thursday morning. It is unclear how much longer the recovery team will be on scene surveying.

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8:48 AM UPDATE:

HANFORD-  According to Geoff Tyree, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the Richland Operations Office, "An air monitor sounded this morning while crews were removing one of the gallery glove boxes on the Plutonium Reclamation Facility at the site's Plutonium Finishing Plant, which is being demolished. The alarm is in the demolition area, in an area where contamination is expected. Crews immediately stopped demolition, applied fixative to the area, and employees at the Plutonium Finishing Plant took cover while a recovery team enters the area, conducts additional surveys and applies additional fixative to mitigate any further contamination spread. No injuries have been reported. Air monitoring alarms during demolition are not unexpected; this is one of the monitoring tools used to ensure demolition of the plant proceeds safely."

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HANFORD, WA - Employees at Hanford's Plutonium Finishing Plant have been told to take cover after two air monitors went off. 

The Hanford site said on their Twitter, "The air monitor went off in a demolition area as crews were demolishing part of the Plutonium Finishing Plant. Contamination is expected in the demolition area, and the air monitors are one of the tools used to ensure employees are protected. After the air monitor went off at PFP, crews stopped demolition and applied a fixative (adhesive paint) to the area. No injuries reported. The fixative material is used as part of demolition to control contamination. Surveys of the area are being conducted."

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