Plan developed to clean up highly radioactive Hanford spill

By Annette Cary
Tri-City Herald

Hanford officials have settled on a plan to clean up what may be the most highly radioactive spill at the nuclear reservation.

It depends on calling back into service the 47-year-old, oversized hot cell where the spill occurred to protect workers from the radioactive cesium and strontium that leaked through the hot cell to the soil below.

Radioactivity in the contaminated soil, which is about 1,000 feet from the Columbia River, has been measured at 8,900 rad per hour. Direct exposure for a few minutes would be fatal, according to Washington Closure.

Washington Closure Hanford has issued a notice telling companies that it plans to request bids in April for a major project that will call for an intensive design effort. While many of Washington Closure’s bid awards go to small companies, this bid request will have no restrictions as the Hanford contractor looks for a company with the experience to handle a complex assignment.

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