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Workers Create Demolition Zone at Hanford Site’s Plutonium Finishing Plant

August 28, 2014 - 12:00pm

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The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.
The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.
The former administration building known as building 270-Z is one of eight support buildings of the Plutonium Finishing Plant recently removed or demolished.

RICHLAND, Wash. – In recent weeks, the look of Hanford site’s Plutonium Finishing Plant has changed as crews removed or demolished eight buildings surrounding it.

   “We’re getting ready to demolish all of the facilities at the Plutonium Finishing Plant,” said Bryan Foley, deputy federal project director for EM’s Richland Operations Office. “Taking down and removing these office buildings and support structures provides a change in the skyline at the plant that brings us closer to completing this important cleanup project.”

   The buildings once supported operations in the plant that produced nearly two-thirds of the country’s plutonium through the late 1980s. Workers removed the buildings to create a large demolition zone surrounding the plant’s main buildings. The zone will allow the safe staging and operation of heavy equipment during final facility demolition.

   “This is one of the most hazardous facilities at Hanford, and the team is safely taking the facility apart from the inside out,”  Mike Swartz, vice president for the plant closure project at CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M HILL), said of the plant. CH2M HILL is EM’s cleanup contractor at the site.

   “As we prepare to demolish the facility, we’re ensuring that there is enough space around the main buildings to bring in heavy equipment and stage demolition debris prior to disposal, all to allow demolition progress to continue safely and compliantly,” Swartz said.

   While heavy equipment outside the plant removes buildings no longer used, inside the plant, employees are removing plutonium processing equipment to prepare the plant itself for demolition.

   Since 2008, EM and its contractors have demolished or removed 61 buildings that once supported the plant’s operations. The eight buildings removed over the past month include building 270-Z, which once housed the plant’s administration offices.

   “The team has done an outstanding job preparing 270-Z for demolition, and then to complete the process safely and compliantly is a testament to the crew’s dedication and experience,” said Jeremy Hulquist, the plant’s field work supervisor overseeing the recent demolition. “I appreciate everyone’s commitment to safety and compliance throughout this process.”

   The plant was the primary facility for producing plutonium at Hanford from the 1940s to the 1980s. Since 2008, EM and CH2M HILL have been cleaning out and removing hundreds of pieces of contaminated equipment from the plant and preparing some equipment for removal during demolition. About 70 percent of the facility is ready for demolition.

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