Vapors are chemical gases in Hanford’s waste storage tanks that may, from time to time, enter the workers’ breathing zone. The vapors commonly reside in the tank headspace, the unfilled area above the waste in the underground storage tanks, and contain a number of chemicals produced from Hanford’s days as a weapons-production facility.
Vapor emissions may be influenced by the weather, preventative and maintenance activities, or work activities that involve disturbing the tank waste, including retrievals and tank-to-tank transfers.
Some chemicals may cause more concern because they appear in higher concentrations than others. Exposure limits are set based on strict criteria, and Washington River Protection Solutions takes a more conservative approach than many in similar industries when it comes to limiting worker exposure.