Hanford Orders New Covid-19 Requirements For 11,000 Workers

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Hanford nuclear reservation workers who do not provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required to be tested at least weekly to be allowed on site.

The policy announced Monday will cover about 11,000 Department of Energy, contractor and subcontractor workers, The Tri-City Herald reported.

Many workers could be required to comply by mid-September.

Also under the new policy, visitors with business there must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from the prior three days to enter any Department of Energy building.

The requirements for Hanford workers follow a late July announcement by President Joe Biden that all workers for the federal government and its contractors must be vaccinated or be tested one to two times a week.

The 586-square-mile (1,518 square kilometer) Hanford site in Eastern Washington was used to produce two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program during World War II and the Cold War.

About $2.5 billion is now spent every year on cleanup of the contaminated site.

Dr. Amy Person, health officer for Benton and Franklin counties, said earlier this month that substantial numbers of cases could be expected among the large Hanford workforce, given the high number of COVID-19 cases throughout the Tri-Cities area.