Unanticipated Chemical Reaction During Waste Load-Out

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  CH2MHill Plateau Remediation Company (Richland, WA - Hanford Site), Richland, WA - Hanford Site (CHPRC)

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Chemical Safety, Occupational Safety and Health, Work Management/Planning, Deactivation and Decommissioning

An unexpected chemical reaction occurred during the removal of debris from the floor of a facility which was previously used for chemical processing. The reaction was the result of the fogging agent used for airborne radioactivity control coming into contact with dried residual chemicals on the floor. The fogging agent had been used successfully in the past, but not in the quantities required for the floor debris clean-up. Although no personnel were affected, the discovery led to stopping work and sealing previously removed floor debris back into the facility for inspection and sampling.

Lesson Learned: The application of chemicals in facilities containing residual chemicals must be evaluated for chemical compatibility as part of the work planning process. The absence of a compatibility evaluation can result in failure to identify proper industrial hygiene controls and properly package waste for disposal. Additionally, successful past use of a chemical does not ensure success when using different concentrations or quantities of the same chemical.

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