Crane supports Hanford clean-up

10 January 2019

A 150-tonne rough-terrain crane will enable workers to access hard-to-reach locations across the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford site in Washington State.

The crane and a 256-foot extension in use lifting lift ironworkers and electricians to the work area at the Cold Test Facility (Image: DOE Office of Environmental Management)

The crane has been retrofitted by site services provider Mission Support Alliance (MSA), the contractor to the DOE Office of Environmental Management's Richland Operations Office. It has already been used to change lights at the Cold Test Facility, a test site for technology used to remove high-level radioactive and chemical waste from Hanford’s underground storage tanks.

The set-up of the facility required the crane’s projected arm plus an extension to reach a combined length of 256 feet (78 metres) to provide access to the structure.

Sean McFadden, MSA crane pool coordinator, said the crane had been a valuable tool in the cleanup mission, especially in the 'tank farms'. "The crane’s larger capacity, wider work radius, and greater reach allow workers to navigate through different terrain and obstacles," he said.
From 1943 to 1987, the Hanford site in southeastern Washington produced plutonium for US military programmes. Over that time, the site produced more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors, and processed 110,000 tonnes of fuel, discharging billions of litres of liquids to soil disposal sites and radioactive waste to 177 large underground tanks.

Environmental cleanup of the site and managing the legacy of over five decades of nuclear weapons production is overseen by the DOE's Richland Operations Office and the Office of River Protection.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News