New report finds health concerns over Hanford tank vapors
The U.S. Department of Energy has found little progress over health conditions at the Hanford nuclear site.
An assessment of the facility, best known for playing a role in developing the first nuclear bombs, saw union employees are still at risk of being exposed to harmful chemical vapors from tanks used to store radioactive waste.
The agency released the results in January.
Despite efforts to improve conditions, a number of the site’s union workers have expressed concerns over the health risks of tank vapors in the past. A previous assessment in 2014 said some who might wish to speak up have feared retaliation from management or fellow workers.
If workers smelled suspicious odors or started showing respiratory symptoms, they were asked to leave the site and were offered medical checks, the Tri-City Herald reports.
However, the new report found Hanford is taking the appropriate steps to address the issue by improving tank vapor protection and encouraging employee communication.
Hanford’s tank farm contractor Washington River Protection Solutions acknowledged the report on Jan. 16.
Concerns over workers’ exposure to chemical vapors have existed since 1987.