The 324 Building, or the Chemical Materials Engineering Laboratory, is one of the last buildings that remain to be demolished in Hanford’s 300 Area. Radiological and non-radiological laboratories, support facilities, and administrative areas are found within the structure.
During preparation for demolition of 324, a pre-existing breach in the sump area below the B-Cell was discovered. Samples collected from underneath the sump indicated highly radioactive contamination below the building. While soil contamination remains above groundwater, work to demolish 324 is on hold until the contamination below the B-Cell can be cleaned up.
Two “hot cell” facilities inside 324 were used for high-level radiological activities. The Radiochemical Engineering Cells (REC) and the Shielded Materials Facility (SMF) were shielded and equipped for remote operations. Low-level analytical laboratories in the building were used for “bench top” or small-scale experiments and radiological systems design.
The non-radioactive laboratories and the high-bay addition to the 324 Building were used to create simulated high-level waste, develop full-scale equipment mock-ups, and waste remediation activities.
For nearly 60 years, the 300 Area was the center of Hanford's radiological research and nuclear fuel fabrication efforts. The processes created highly contaminated facilities and waste sites.