Retrieval of double-shell tank AY-102 is now complete, with workers removing more than 725,000 gallons of waste from the tank. Read more about the effort.
This last phase of retrieval used extended-reach sluicer technology to complete the work before March 4, 2017, an important Settlement Agreement deadline with the State of Washington.
A tank chemical vapor controls and monitoring plan was implemented to protect worker safety and health. Progress on the project and results of vapor monitoring have been communicated broadly to employees and other stakeholders throughout this phase of retrieval.
In late 2012, a small leak of high-level radioactive waste was discovered from the inner shell of double-shell tank AY-102 into the annulus, the space between the inner and outer shells of the tank. The waste is contained in the 30-inch wide annulus and does not threaten the environment.
Tank AY-102, the oldest of Hanford’s double-shell tanks that began operating in 1970, held 850,000 gallons of waste.
Waste Retrieval & Worker Safety
Protecting tank farm workers from industrial, radiological and chemical hazards is WRPS’ highest priority.
Plans are in place to mitigate and control the present hazards, including chemical vapors.
These controls may include:
- Work conducted on nights and weekends when fewer workers are present
- Vapor Control Zones established where supplied air respirators are required
- Restricted access to areas near the work zone
- And state-of-the-art industrial hygiene monitoring and sampling to detect and prevent exposures