Archives for July 2018

Hanford demolition work could restart later this year.

Hanford workers

RICHLAND, WA – Work to tear down one of Hanford’s most radiologically contaminated buildings could restart in October under new plans to do the work more carefully and deliberately.

The plant could be torn down to the ground by June 2019, completing a lengthy and sometimes troubled project at the nuclear reservation.

Work at the Plutonium Finishing Plant was stopped in December when radioactive particles spread, leaving 11 workers with small amounts of contamination radioactively decaying inside their bodies from inhaling or ingesting the particles.

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Asbestos Hazards in the Demolition Industry


The demolition process poses a variety of on-the-job issues workers have to contend with, including unplanned structure collapses and falling objects. However, exposure to carcinogens can be an overlooked threat, especially without engineering controls and responsible disposal measures in place. Asbestos is one of the most concerning carcinogens found on the job, as fibers easily become airborne when products containing it are damaged. But how can we identify asbestos, what risks are associated with the mineral and how do we protect ourselves from exposure?


A Crucial Building Component


For several decades during the 1900s, asbestos was heavily used as a fortification material in many different applications, including insulation, roofing, and flooring. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring silicate mineral, and possesses many properties deemed desirable by builders, including fire-resistance and relative affordability. During the early 1970s, at its height the United States consumed more than 700,000 tons of the mineral. It could also be found in an array of consumer products, such as children’s toys, brake pads, and cosmetics. However, people who worked closely with asbestos began to exhibit signs of severe illness, typically decades after initial contact. As more people became ill, the federal government began regulating asbestos as well as studying the mineral’s impact on human health.


A Rare, Severe Cancer


Workers complained of a number of symptoms, including chest tightness, fluid buildup in the lungs, and shortness of breath. Doctors eventually concluded that these workers were suffering from mesothelioma, a grave disease caused by direct exposure of asbestos. The cancer may develop when airborne asbestos particles from dilapidated or disrupted materials containing the mineral are inhaled or ingested. These particles become lodged in the body (generally in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart) and, after several decades, can result in mesothelioma. Prognosis is often very poor, with most patients given a life expectancy of just 12-21 months after diagnosis. Treatment regimens can include surgery and radiation, although several emerging therapies, such as immunotherapy, have shown promise in clinical trials.


How to Stay Safe


One of the most important tools every worker should have is knowledge; both about the worksite and what dangers might be lurking around the corner. Adhering to proper protocols, including following engineering surveys and health hazard assessments, should be practiced no matter how small or large the job is. Furthermore, using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can prevent respiratory hazards and chemical exposure from occurring, especially during rubbish removal. Exposure can happen when asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are improperly disposed of in dumpsters or other trash receptacles, so proper disposal adherence based on municipality standards should always be followed. By sticking to these practices, workers can enjoy a healthy and productive jobsite.


Delta II towers collapse after detonation at Space Launch Complex-17, July 12, 2018 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing, activated the detonator.

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. — With a final farewell and the push of a plunger, Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing Commander, demolished the nearly 200-foot-tall towers at 7 a.m. July 12 at Space Launch Complex 17, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The demolition of the towers marks the first phase of a contract, which was awarded in September 2016 and involved demolition of the Delta II towers, associated structures, and includes pavements and site restoration.

“The towers were workhorses in their day, supporting 325 launches between 1957 and 2011,” General Monteith said. “For many, this launch complex bridged the Space Age from the early days to the era of large boosters. It’s a bittersweet day as we say goodbye to these iconic towers, but their demolition paves the way for innovation as Moon Express comes to work on the same hallowed ground as the LC-17 crews.”

Launch Complex 17 was built for the Air Force’s THOR Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) research and development in 1956, and it was used by the Air Force and NASA to support DELTA launch operations until September 10, 2011. The complex consisted of two launch pads, Pad 17A and Pad 17B. The NAVSTAR Global Positioning Satellite launched from Pad 17A on February 14, 1989.

Approximately 16,000 tons of metal and more than 2,000 tons of concrete will be recycled from these demolition phases, as part of the $1.9 million project.

“This is the busiest space port in the entire world, right here in Brevard County in Florida. There is nothing more exciting that we do than preparing for the future,” General Monteith said. “We make history every single week here on the range, and today we get to be a part of future history. I want to stay in this business and keep diving us forward in maintaining American supremacy in space all the way through the future.”

Moon Express plans to repurpose the site and use it for lunar lander development and flight test operations.

“We are moving to the future,” he said. “The hard work that occurred at this pad is a testament to the DOD and NASA workers that made their mark and paved the way to where we are today. The work that goes on here is absolutely remarkable, and we look forward to the successes of Moon Express as they work on the same ground as the LC-17 Crews, and you have some pretty big shoes to fill.”

The National Demolition Association

WEKU, a national public radio station, continues their series on “Women leading the way in male dominated fields”. Check out their latest interview with Diana Hagan, the only female in Eastern Kentucky University’s construction management program.