daughters of hanford

Phyllis Fletcher / Northwest News Network

A woman meets a mysterious stranger as she studies declassified documents about one the most polluted sites on earth.

Three generations of women are part of a family whose lives, health and even high school mascot bear markers of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state.

The Washington State Historical Society recognizes these stories, and the entire project Daughters of Hanford, with the 2016 David Douglas Award.

Ian C. Bates

Our Richland Correspondent Anna King has won two Gracie Awards, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced Monday. Anna has won the Gracie for outstanding correspondent and the Gracie for crisis coverage in the award's public radio division.

Kai-Huei Yau

For a decade, one woman has been the top watchdog on the Hanford nuclear reservation for Washington state. Jane Hedges retires February 26.

U.S. Department of Energy

In 1944, the U.S. pinned its hope on a secret project to win World War II. The government was counting on the B Reactor at Hanford in southeast Washington state to make enough plutonium in time. One of the physicists working against the clock was a 24-year-old woman: Leona (Woods) Marshall Libby.

Kai-Huei Yau

Wherever she was, she stood out for being half white, or half Japanese. Shirley Olinger will only whisper the racist names she was called as a girl.

Kai-Huei Yau

In 1987, late in the Cold War, in a government reading room in Richland, Washington, a historian was studying newly released documents about the Hanford nuclear reservation. Then, a strange man approached her.

Kai-Huei Yau

For the fifth time in 15 years, the state of Washington is fighting the federal government in court over Hanford cleanup. The state’s top cleanup watchdog in Richland -- who grew up just downstream from the nuclear site -- plays a major role in that case

Kai-Huei Yau

Geochemist Frannie Smith would like to see more girls get into science like she did. Women make up only about 25 percent of geoscientists in the U.S. and only a quarter of all the scientists or engineers at the Pacific Northwest National Lab in Washington state are female.

Kai-Huei Yau

In southeast Washington state, a group of farms has been frozen in time. It’s at Hanford, the area the federal government took over to make plutonium during World War II.

Kai-Huei Yau

In the West, there aren’t a lot of black woman geologists who specialize in uranium deposits and groundwater. Zelma Maine Jackson landed far from her home state of South Carolina, but drilled into life in the West.

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