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Nuclear plant tests thousands of air samples

Nicholas K. Geranios | Associated Press

RICHLAND, Wash. — Officials say about 12,000 air samples taken on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation this year after more than three dozen workers reported being sickened by chemical vapors have failed to find a cause for the problem.

But Hanford officials said Wednesday that doesn’t mean that vapors aren’t making workers sick.

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Tom Fletcher of the U.S. Department of Energy says none of the air samples taken this year showed chemical levels above occupational exposure limits.

He says Hanford officials are awaiting a report expected later this year from the Savannah River National Laboratory on what might be causing the illnesses.

Hanford for more than four decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and it now contains the nation’s greatest volume of nuclear waste.


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