RICHLAND, Wash. -

New deadlines for emptying some Hanford nuclear waste tanks might not be met if the government takes steps to better protect workers from chemical vapors.
   
The Department of Energy requested that its tanks contractor look at the potential impact of a union demand that supplied air respirators be used not only within the boundaries of Hanford tank farms but in an expanded area of 200 feet beyond tank farm fences.
   
Contractor Washington River Protection Solutions concluded that rather than having five leak-prone tanks from a set of 12 emptied by the end of 2020, the work might not be completed until 2021.
   
The Tri-City Herald says that, in addition, nine tanks in the A and AX Tank Farms might not be emptied until 2026, two years beyond schedule.