Hanford Fire Department worker tests positive for radioactive contamination via Tri-City Herald

A worker at the Hanford Fire Station has tested positive for internal radioactive contamination at a very low level.

The exposure occurred after breathing equipment used at the nuclear reservation’s Plutonium Finishing Plant was sent to the station for storage, according to the Department of Energy.

Of 150 workers at the Hanford Fire Department, 104 have requested tests of their bodily fluid to determine if they also may have been exposed.

In December, contamination was found in cooling systems used within protective suits worn by Plutonium Finishing Plant workers that have high levels of radioactive contaminants.

Eleven of the same kinds of cooling systems had been sent off Hanford for mechanical work, and they were tracked down to sites in Kennewick, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.


Six workers at the Plutonium Finishing Plant also have requested testing. Results for them and the remainder of the fire department workers who have requested testing should be available from an off-site laboratory in a matter of weeks.

Testing also was offered to a salesman for Mine Safety Appliances who took the 11 vortex coolers from Hanford in the fall to troubleshoot a mechanical problem. Three of the coolers were still in the trunk of his car and two of them were found to have contamination.

He declined testing. Workers a the Ohio and Pennsylvania facilities where other vortex coolers had been shipped also declined testing.

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