Headspace Sampling

The Tanks Contain

Hanford’s 177 underground waste tanks contain a complex mixture of radioactive materials and hazardous chemicals. In fact, more than 1,800 chemicals have been identified in the tank waste.


Of these, about 1,500 are present in the headspace of the tanks, which need to be vented to the atmosphere to prevent potentially flammable concentrations of gases in the tanks.

Breathing Space

The vapors are filtered to remove radioactive contaminants, but chemical vapors have the potential to enter workers’ breathing space.

Types of Chemicals

Several waste-generating processes were operated at the Hanford Site. The primary goal of these processes was to extract and/or process plutonium or separate other selected radionuclides from the waste [...] Read More

Chemicals Of Potential Concern

A chemical of potential concern (COPC) is a chemical found in tank waste vapors that may pose a hazard in the work environment. The COPCs for Hanford tank wastes were categorized in 2006 by evaluating [...] Read More