I was looking for a low-key, low-trauma job after doing some intense domestic violence work. A friend connected me with Tom Carpenter, who was looking for some help moving his office and scanning documents as he transitioned to starting up Hanford Challenge. The three week job turned into a three month job and here I am eight years later. The topic that first grabbed my interest was worker health and safety. At the time we were working with people who had been exposed to chemical vapors during the S-102 spill in the tank farms. As the Outreach Director for Hanford Challenge, I spend a lot of time in Hanford Advisory Board meetings and experimenting with creative approaches for sharing information, getting people involved and collaborating.
It is simultaneously fascinating and terrifying to participate in Hanford meetings where we talk about cleanup and contamination time frames that are 20, 40 and 200,000 years in the future. We need a knowledgeable crew that is prepared to give input, make sure the cleanup protects future generations, and keeps the memory of Hanford alive, as buildings come down and the visible reminders disappear.
The Hanford topics that keep me coming back for more are, safety culture issues; long-term stewardship; tank farm closure; the battles around cleanup levels and contaminant mobility; the invisibility of contamination; the challenging dynamic of budget, schedule and cleanup; and learning from people who are on the ground doing what it takes to make the cleanup work.
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