Report says radioactive monitors failed at nuclear plant

March 9, 2018

A new report says mistakes and mismanagement are to blame for the exposure of workers to radioactive particles at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

Contractor CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. on Thursday released its evaluation of what went wrong in December during demolition of the nuclear reservation's highly contaminated Plutonium Finishing Plant.

The Tri-City Herald reports the study said primary radioactive air monitors used at a highly hazardous Hanford project failed to detect contamination. Then, when the spread of contamination was detected, the report said steps taken to contain it didn't fully work.

At least 11 Hanford workers checked since mid-December inhaled or ingested small amounts of radioactive particles. Private and government vehicles were contaminated with radioactive particles.

The sprawling site in southeastern Washington contains more than 50 million gallons of radioactive and toxic wastes in underground storage tanks. It's owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, which hires private contractors to manage the cleanup work.

Hanford was established during World War II and made the plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The 560-square mile site also made most of the plutonium for the nation's nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.

The report released Thursday said before the December spread of contamination, Hanford officials were relying primarily on continuous air monitors that check for airborne radioactive contamination in near real-time and sound an alarm if workers may be in danger.

The monitors had worked in the past, including in June, when alarms sounded and workers were told to shelter in place.

But the monitors did not detect airborne contamination in December, possibly because some of the particles that spread were too heavy to stay aloft.

Officials had other signs that there might be a problem, including contamination found in monitors that workers wear on their lapels, yet continued to rely on the continuous air monitors.

The CH2M report, which is now being reviewed by a Department of Energy panel, listed 42 steps to take in response to its findings, like changes to training for radiological workers.

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18 comments

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WillieWard
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 09, 2018
Antinuclear faux-green fearmongers love to mix up nuclear weapon facilities with nuclear power plants to scare misinformed people in order to favor fossil fuels(backup for intermittent renewables).
If you are afraid of plutonium and other radioactive particles:
In a single eruption, volcanoes release hundreds of tons of radioactive materials: protactinium-231(equivalent to plutonium-239 in terms of toxicity), radium-226, uranium-235/234/238, thorium, potassium-40, rubidium-87, etc.
https://uploads.d...2bbf.jpg
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2018
Defense in depth is intended to allow for failure of other monitors. That's why you wear radiation badges.

This was dumb; it's either a training failure or a management failure. And it's yet another reason why it's a Bad Idea to let contractors do this work without supervision by qualified personnel.
rrwillsj
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 10, 2018
So, WW, you are saying there are naturally released radioactive materials across our (only) environment?

And your argument is? That Human produced radioactive releases are therefore okay with you? Because you relish the added flavorings to your food and drink?

And only your opinion matters. The lack of enthusiasm by the rest of the Human Race is a trivial matter of no importance or consideration?

Cause, the Atomic Gods forbid that you may have to compromise your egotistical dictates?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Mar 10, 2018
It's owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, which hires private contractors to manage the cleanup work.

oh my...that seems like a good idea to keep this stuff under control...not.
Private contractors? Really? Anybody do background checks on them? No? There's a couple of nightmare scenarions I could envision here (from sub-standard work to corruption to stuff from there walking out ther door for some more nefarious uses...in the latter case I would check if the failure of the monitors was not 'intentional')
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 10, 2018
Antinuclear faux-green fearmongers love to mix up nuclear weapon facilities with nuclear power plants to scare misinformed people in order to favor fossil fuels(backup for intermittent renewables).
If you are afraid of plutonium and other radioactive particles:
In a single eruption, volcanoes release hundreds of tons of radioactive materials: protactinium-231(equivalent to plutonium-239 in terms of toxicity), radium-226, uranium-235/234/238, thorium, potassium-40, rubidium-87, etc.
https://uploads.d...2bbf.jpg


WeeWee,

Stupidiosity at its most naked. Fearmongering at its most blatant.

Use Google --the same place from which you dug up this bullshit-- to check on the relative toxicity and half-life of these isotopes, and then report back to us on the human/environmental radiation threat level posed by Mt St Helens, compared with the toxicity of the Hanford releases.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 11, 2018
There's a couple of nightmare scenarions I could envision here (from sub-standard work to corruption to stuff from there walking out ther door for some more nefarious uses...in the latter case I would check if the failure of the monitors was not 'intentional')
Incompetence is what we typically expect from govt bureaucracies.

"As President Obama's energy czar, Browner went on to bully auto execs "to put nothing in writing, ever" regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated on a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. She was also singled out by Obama's own independent oil-spill commission for repeatedly misrepresenting scientists' findings and doctoring data to justify the administration's draconian drilling moratorium."
katesisco
5 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
The article does not make what was misreporting clear. Were the personal badges not reporting accurately? Were the particles circulating in the air not reported? If so, why not? Were the particles for some reason not the expected kind of radiation? If not, how were they different? Heavy? How were they heavy?
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Mar 11, 2018
It is time we gave up this Faustian Bargain.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Mar 11, 2018
Let's put the nuke folk to work cleaning up their disasters.

That ought to take care of them for a few generations.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2018
Oh, gkam, you are such an optimist!

If the nuke-noodles were the private contractors? I would seriously doubt if there would be any 'future generations'!

Though come to think of it... As two-headed corporate bureaucrats, talking out of both sides of both mouths?

Imagine the cacophony of denier-phonies and their paeans to the profits earned from causing environmental degradation.

Cause for those lowlifes, it's always about the Benjamins. They are determined to be encasketed with thick padding of dollars. The faint radioactive glow given off by their corpses. Means they can spend eternity counting and re-counting their wealth. Their pride and joy.
WillieWard
3 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2018
It is time we gave up this Faustian Bargain.
Production and installation of intermittent renewables("greenwashing"/facade for coal and gas industries) are causing enormous environmental degradation.
https://pbs.twimg...GNv4.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...FU0m.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...eUA0.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...kR_J.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...knx8.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...nOR6.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...AzID.jpg
"The difference between nuclear & solar exclusion zones is that life thrives in the former while *all life must die* in the latter."
https://pbs.twimg...pHgG.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...8moy.jpg
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2018
Go help at Fukushima, Willie.

It's SAFE!!
WillieWard
3 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2018
It's SAFE!!
A Fukushima lesson: "People understand temperature very well," says Dr Tanigawa. "They need that understanding of radiation."
"With hindsight, we can say the evacuation [after Fukushima accident] was a mistake. We would have recommended that nobody be evacuated." "The human cost would have been far smaller had people stayed where they were."
"Fukushima nuclear disaster: did the evacuation raise the death toll?" - March 10, 2018
https://www.ft.co...58b189ea
Sadly, fearmongers and sensationalist mass media have induced most of deaths(heart-attacks, abortions, suicides) all to favor the combo("intermittent renewables + fossil fuels") which air pollution is far deadlier.
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2018
Let's go back and dig up some of Willie's old posts, . . back when he was Baghdad Bob.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2018
Willie, I understand you made a valiant effort to stop the frantic people fleeing the area of the Fukushima reactor. Uhh, did you ever get all those footprints off your carcass. When you were trampled by people determined to get their families to safety?

From your reply to gkam's curiosity about when you will be volunteering to join the clean-up efforts at Fukushima? I gather you have absolutely no intention of placing your own fat ass in danger. You just cheerlead others to make the sacrifice.
WillieWard
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2018
when you will be volunteering to join the clean-up efforts at Fukushima?
"the clean-up" is not necessary, the radiation level is below than natural background, people receive more radiation during a commercial flight(up to 60mSv) than in Fukushima(20mSv).
"Fukushima Diaries The picture painted by anti-nuclear fear mongers does not match reality. Visit Fukushima with these three witnesses."
https://www.youtu...l_MaRngI
https://mothersfo...ukushima
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2018
Ossoo? That is a definitely defiant "Hell No! I Won't Go!

Cause I'm delicate, those bone spurs are paining me again. And besides, I have a tee-time scheduled at ten o'clock at the Club."

Ossoo indeed!
WillieWard
1 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2018
In Fukushima (20 mSv), you receive less radiation than flying in an airplane (65 mSv).
https://uploads.d...e4ec.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...pg:large
"A worker's individual exposure will depend on the time spent at altitude, but if a person spent all year flying in a plane, the average radiation dose would be about 65 milliSieverts (mSv) per year in the 5 years around the solar minimum, compared to about 56 mSv during the last minimum and at least 45 mSv during the solar maximum of the previous cycle, according to the new study."
https://blogs.agu...-levels/

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