Hanford workers testing remote tool to remove waste from buildin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford workers testing remote tool to remove waste from building 324

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HANFORD: Workers at a mock-up facility are testing equipment to remove waste from a highly radioactive area in the 324 building.

The 324 building has been sitting for the last 8 years and that's because during a 2010 demolition project, workers discovered waste inside the building's 'B Cell." The building has been left standing for the last years until workers could find a way to safely remove the waste inside the soil underneath the B Cell.

In 2017, Hanford workers came up with a plan to remove the waste using remote excavators.' The electronic system uses remote equipment, camera and lights to help guide the operators.

"Communication is key on this where you've got people in different locations, moving equipment," said Mike Douglas, Deputy VP for River Risk Management.

Mike also says not only is the waste inside the building high in contamination, the building is also located less than a mile away from the Columbia River. Due to its location, the demolition has halted until researchers could create that distinct and safe plan to remove the waste. Right now, however, the river is safe from contamination because the building is sitting on top of the soil, preventing any leakage from rain water.

As far as how the remote process actually works is workers post up in operating rooms, controlling the equipment inside the B Cell; almost like playing a video game. In more technical terms, workers will conduct excavation using remote excavators, which will hammer, cut and dig out the floor of the B Cell.

Currently, this is being tested at a nearby mock-up facility.

"In the next 6 months- we'll be training and practicing here in the facility," said Mike Douglas.

If you would like to see the complete simulation of the project, then you can follow the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkMMr5pp41o

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