Hanford cleanup progress sets stage for future success

Our team at CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Co. (CHPRC) recently marked a historic accomplishment in Hanford’s cleanup mission with the safe completion of demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant’s main processing facility.

The removal of this iconic building – once so critical to Hanford’s production mission – forever changes the landscape at Hanford and reduces risk across the site.

This is just one example of our progress at Hanford.

During more than 11 years working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), we left the groundwater cleaner and advanced protection of the Columbia River by remediating hundreds of waste sites and demolishing hundreds of buildings – significantly contributing to the vision of safely shrinking the area of active cleanup for the Hanford site to the central plateau.

These achievements underscore how far Hanford cleanup has come since the primary mission changed from production to waste management and environmental cleanup in 1989. Today, we look to build upon the progress made and lessons learned over the past three decades to ensure a final cleanup that is protective for generations to come.

As our current contract nears completion, our commitment to advancing Hanford cleanup remains strong.

Our workers are preparing for future cleanup by completing the necessary and challenging steps to prepare the 324 Building for eventual demolition, deactivate and place the last reactor along the Columbia River into interim safe storage, provide environmentally safe disposition of low-activity vitrified waste from the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, and further develop the systems and processes needed to transfer highly radioactive cesium and strontium capsules from underwater storage at the Waste Encapsulation Storage Facility to safer dry storage.

Our team recognizes the achievement of Hanford’s mission requires a strong partnership not only with DOE and our fellow contractors, but also our community, stakeholders and the incredible workforce that call the Columbia Basin region home.

Pride and engagement in our cleanup mission by the people getting it done every day is the One Hanford initiative.

We cannot overemphasize the value of our small-business partners.

We worked closely with them throughout this journey and have enjoyed seeing them grow their businesses. Since 2008, we’ve invested nearly $3 billion in more than 250 local small businesses.

We’re also committed to the Tri-City community, emphasizing the development of the next generation of Hanford workers.

Through our Highway to Hanford initiative, we promote opportunities to bring the next generation of workers to Hanford and enhance a healthy quality of life and diversity in our community. Our employees have volunteered in schools and brought students to our projects, underscoring the importance of science, technology, engineering and math skills.

We connected those skills to all careers at Hanford, and in doing so, helped students see the opportunities to benefit their community and protect this region for the future.

CHPRC has, and will continue to be, a community partner in other ways.

You will feel our impact if you hike Badger or Candy Mountain and see the monuments commemorating the Hanford workforce.

Our support for a wide range of community organizations has helped children learn to read, built homes and provided opportunities for people of differing abilities to reach their full potential.

Whatever the activity, our fantastic employees volunteered more than 15,000 hours during our contract. They will tell you they received more from the experience than they ever imagined.

The past 11 years have been exciting, challenging and immensely rewarding for CHPRC employees past and present, and our progress sets the stage for future success.

We are proud of our achievements not only as a company, but also as part of a much larger Hanford community all dedicated to a common goal – the safe, efficient and effective completion of the Hanford cleanup mission.

Ty Blackford is president and chief executive officer of CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Co.

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