Contaminated equipment from Hanford site entered Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Officials say equipment found with “low levels” of plutonium and other radioactive contamination left the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and entered Richland by mistake.

The Tri-City Herald reports a message sent to Hanford employees Wednesday says a worker removed the spreader bar used at the Plutonium Finishing Plant without checking it for radiation late last month.

The equipment was in a zone designated as a radiological buffer area. The truck carrying the bar drove to two places on the Hanford site and then to a contractor facility in north Richland.

According to the message, no radioactive contamination was found at the places where the truck traveled.

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. says it has changed protocols for releasing materials from radiological buffer areas.