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