TV: More workers rushed to hospital at U.S. nuclear site — 17 sickened in past week — Former Employee: “It’s pretty scary… to have this many in 8 days is really abnormal” — Company: We’re trying to understand what’s happening (VIDEO)

Published: March 27th, 2014 at 1:39 am ET


KING 5 News Seattle, Mar. 26, 2014: Hanford workers sickened by unknown vapors rises to 17 — The KING 5 Investigators have found that six Hanford workers were sickened Wednesday from ingesting chemical vapors at the nuclear facility. […] This brings the total to 17 Hanford employees who have needed medical care since last Wednesday due to the inhalation of toxic vapors. […] “Data collection and analysis is underway in the affected (tank) farms to understand what happened and what might be done to reduce the likelihood of future occurrences,” said [Jerry Holloway, External Affairs Manager at U.S. Dept. of Energy’s contractor Washington River Protection Solutions]. […] The incident Wednesday occurred in yet another location at the Hanford site […] Sources tell the reporter 17 people were working on the video inspection when three were suddenly sickened by the release of vapors.

Mike Geffre, retired WRPS employee who spent 26 years at Hanford: “It’s pretty scary. It doesn’t usually happen like this. Usually you see four or five a year. But to have this many in eight days is really abnormal […] Whenever you hear of someone getting tank vapors, you never know what the long term affects are. The affects of exposures like this can show up as health problems years down the road.”

KING 5 News transcript: The King 5 investigators learned that workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have been rushed to the hospital. […] I was in Richland doing an interview on this very topic […] during that interview we got word from sources that right at that time that 3 more employees were either going to the hospital here or taken to the onsite medical facility at Hanford because of another such incident […] In those three separate incidents the workers were all at different locations at Hanford, so this isn’t just one problem area where they’re seeing a repeat problem. […] Obviously, workers are concerned, feel there’s a problem here, and they want their employer and the Department of Energy to do something about it.

See also: [intlink id=”tv-11-workers-at-u-s-nuclear-site-transported-to-medical-facilities-suffering-nose-bleeds-chest-pains-coughing-up-blood-multiple-locations-evacuated-persistant-symptoms-extremely-unusua” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Watch the KING 5 broadcast here

Published: March 27th, 2014 at 1:39 am ET


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207 comments to TV: More workers rushed to hospital at U.S. nuclear site — 17 sickened in past week — Former Employee: “It’s pretty scary… to have this many in 8 days is really abnormal” — Company: We’re trying to understand what’s happening (VIDEO)

  • via i know March 31, 2014

    Please comment on this article. So far only nuclear industry reps have commented on it and the other side of the story needs to be told.

    • SadieDog

      -The state and federal governments first made a deal in 1989 to clean up Hanford. In 2008, the state filed a lawsuit in federal court when it became clear the Department of Energy would be unable to meet key deadlines.
      The lawsuit was settled in 2010 with an agreement on a series of new deadlines for completing the retrieval and treatment of 56 million gallons of high-level radioactive and hazardous waste from Hanford's 177 underground tanks.
      The federal government has since informed the state that nearly all of those consent decree deadlines are in jeopardy.

    • zogerke zogerke

      infuriating , sadie dog. that article says:
      <<spokesman said in an email, "Monitors do not prevent exposure to chemical vapors; they detect the vapors and give our technicians an indication of the type of chemicals after the fact."

      And what about respiratory gear, if the threat for chemical vapor exposure is present?

      A WRPS response stated that the gear is available, but not mandatory. And the gear can restrict vision and cause other safety problems.

      We asked if any of the workers have not returned to work and received medical care beyond their evaluation and release to return to work.

      WRPS said, "None of the employees have "received medical care"– they were seen by a doctor and release to return to work.">>

      • zogerke zogerke

        the point of industrial hygiene and safety training is to monitor and then choose the level of respiratory protection that you need. And ALL protective equipment has a down side of restricting freedom of movement, being hot, etc. That is the basic HS level info about using respiratory protection. Its like saying- I didn't want to take my medicine cause it tastes bad-so i wont- and if i sicken more & die- lalalalala. using that, repeating that statement with no analysis, simple half brain dead analysis, using that as a viable excuse to not wear respiratory protection, in a MSM 'news'source is frigging purile nonsense. OF COURSE respirators restrict vision! Amazing. If you don't give a poop about workers, have no enforcement of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 (respiratory protection standard) then all you do is USE disposable workers as mules, hands and eyes- with no respect for or ADEQUATE WORKER TRAINING to protect their lungs. I teach about respirators and respiratory protection every week. This really is vile to me, backwards and vile. Just like shitting on your eating utensils and then eating with them. F E H.

        • zogerke zogerke

          AND the only reason it is not mandatory is that HANFORD may not be under OSHA regs. FOR if it is under OSHA jusistiction, US DOL, it IS mandatory top test and use and train for and provide- adequate respiratory protection.

          For the record, i believe OSHA regulations were written in workers blood. And I respect them. Zogerke out.

          • zogerke zogerke

            if anything, OSHA regs are not stringent enough (see, PELS which have not been updated since 1972. PELS- permissible exposure levels to chemicals.

          • zogerke zogerke

            The woman in that picture looks like an office worker by her dress…though I could be being just stereotypical here…conjecture….I wonder if they are getting fumes in the office on site? which would explain why no respiratory protection…and mean that fume infiltration is widespread….

    • SadieDog

      The capsules were destined for the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nev., national repository, which DOE no longer plans to develop. That could leave the capsules stored at Hanford until 2048, when DOE plans to open a repository at a location yet to be determined.
      The storage facility has been operating for almost 40 years and the concrete in the cells of its underwater pool has begun to deteriorate from radiation exposure.

    • SadieDog

      – A tank farm worker says this is a positive step, but it's still not enough.

      WRPS confirms this new requirement started Thursday and said in an email to our reporter that this is a short-term requirement while the company reviews their industrial hygiene program.

    • SadieDog

      – He says the DOE representatives watch them "like a hawk."

      But he says recently the DOE representatives haven't been around since the reports started coming in of tank farm workers exposed to chemical vapors.

    • bo bo

      Nowhere in the clip they mention the word 'radiation'.

      And the list of chemicals they mention –


      Is that really all?

      What about

      ( I see plutonium mentioned in the article, but not in newsclip)

      I hope these people start checking enenews and start their research 🙁

  • GQR2

    woo-hoo more truth in less than 6 mins than in the last decade! Good on those people and the station. Hopefully they stay on it,and put some real heat on the Hanford Managers who think they can just decline interviews.
    It sounds like they could have been exposed to radiation as well as a strong dose of lethal vapors. That medical clinic is a joke and their contract is probably in the millions. What a dump!