Hanford contractor releases plan for dealing with mysterious vapors at nuke waste tanks

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SPOKANE, Washington — A Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor has released a plan for dealing with the persistent problem of workers being exposed to chemical vapors while working on nuclear waste storage tanks.

Washington River Protection Solutions released the plan on Tuesday.

Hanford contains the nation's largest amount of radioactive waste, left over from the Cold War production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. The most dangerous wastes are stored in underground tanks on the reservation, located near Richland, Washington.

Dozens of workers in recent years have reported being sickened by chemical vapors while working near the tanks. In most cases they are cleared to return to work.

The new plan calls for improving sampling and detection technology; expanding identification of tank gases; increasing real-time monitoring, and deploying new abatement technologies.

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