Washington Closure Hanford awards subcontract for cleanup of highly contaminated waste site

Washington Closure Hanford has awarded AREVA Federal Services LLC a subcontract worth nearly $19 million to begin engineering and design for cleanup of one of the most contaminated waste sites on the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site.

The waste site, known as 300-296, consists of contaminated soil beneath the 324 Building, also called Chemical and Materials Engineering Laboratory.  The 324 Building is located in the 300 Area about a mile north of Richland and a quarter-mile from the Columbia River.

The 324 Building was constructed from 1964 to 1966 and operated until 1996.  It contained shielded rooms called "hot cells," where workers used remotely operated equipment to perform experiments with highly radiological materials.

While decontaminating the building in preparation for demolition in November 2009, Washington Closure discovered a breach in the sump of "B-Cell", the building's largest and most contaminated hot cell.  The contamination was caused by a spill of highly radioactive liquid during the mid-1980s that migrated from the B-Cell's sump area into the underlying soil.

AREVA will perform assessments, engineering , and construction of a functional full-scale mockup of B-Cell and its associated hot cells.  It will begin work this month and conclude by September 2015.