Hanford crews take down one of the final buildings in the 300 Area
Cleanup work at the Hanford site continues to move forward, as crews there demolish one of the last remaining buildings in the 300 Area.
Crews say this demolition project is a major milestone in getting the 300 Area completely cleaned up, and because that area is next to the Columbia River, it will help ensure a safer future for residents across the region.
This large building at the Hanford site (pictured to the right) used to support radiological research and development.
But now, more than 50 years after it opened, it is being destroyed.
"It's a real big milestone because again, as you see around us, we've gotten rid of a lot of facilities already. This being one of the last ones" said Ruben Trevino, 300 Area closure manager.
Crews at Hanford are tearing down the 326 building in the 300 Area, which is about a mile north of Richland, next to the Columbia River.
The two story, 63,107 square-foot building, which also has a basement, was an occupied laboratory until 2011, when it was turned over to Washington Closure Hanford for demolition.
"We're trying to complete the majority of the cleanup by the end of 2015." said Mark French, federal project director.
Crews say this demolition project is a big step toward cleaning up the 300 Area as a whole.
"What used to be basically an industrial city here, matter of fact, we're standing on what used to be an old maintenance shop. Now, as you can look and see, open air from here all the way to the river" said French.
Cleanup crews at Hanford started demolishing the 326 building about four weeks ago.
They expect to be done around mid-November.
Workers say the bottom line with this project is safety.
They say taking down this hazardous building will help ensure a better future for generations to come in the Tri-Cities.
"It's a really big deal because it's part of the closure of what we've got going on here in the 300 Area, but also for the protection of the river that we've got here, the Columbia River, and making sure that everything's safe" said Trevino.
It took crews more than a year to prepare for the demolition.
There are still two other buildings standing in the 300 Area.
One is being used by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
The other building, which is called the 324 building, is expected to be demolished around 2020.