Poor Communication Leads to a Contaminated Item Taken Off Site

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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:  Operations, Radiation Protection, Deactivation and Decommissioning

A spreader bar used for hoisting and rigging activities was discovered to have been removed from a Radiological Buffer Area (RBA) at the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP), loaded on a truck and driven into Richland, Washington. A miscommunication led to one spreader bar being surveyed in the RBA, with no contamination found, and a different spreader bar being removed from the RBA. The spreader bar that was removed from the RBA was later surveyed and determined to be contaminated. This resulted in uncontrolled contaminated material being taken off the Hanford site.

Lesson Learned: Follow a robust process for removing equipment or material from an RBA that includes surveying items at the point of egress from the RBA, or having items escorted out of the RBA by the individual that performed the survey elsewhere in the RBA. Ensure proper communication, component identification, and control of equipment or material within radiologically controlled areas. Before borrowing items for use on another project, obtain appropriate management authorization.

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