Hanford

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington was home to Native Americans and later to settlers. It turned into an top-secret military workhorse during World War II and the Cold War. Now, it’s one of the most pressing and complex environmental cleanup challenges humanity is facing in the world.

This remote area in southeast Washington is where the federal government made plutonium for bombs during WWII and the Cold War. It’s now home to some of the most toxic contamination on earth, a witch’s brew of chemicals, radioactive waste and defunct structures. In central Hanford, leaking underground tanks full of radioactive sludge await a permanent solution. Meanwhile, a massive $12 billion waste treatment plant, designed to bind up that tank waste into more stable glass logs, has a troubled history.

Anna King is public radio's correspondent in Richland, Washington, covering the seemingly endless complexities of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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History and Culture
2:55 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Website Offers Searchable Oral History Archive About Hanford Site

Veronica Taylor, an elder of the Nez Perce tribe, grew up along the Columbia River at Hanford.
Atomic Heritage Foundation

When the federal government decided to make plutonium in southeast Washington, early farmers and whole villages of Native Americans were kicked out. Now, a new collection of oral histories tells some of these stories of the Hanford site.

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Environment and Planning
10:00 am
Wed December 17, 2014

GAO Report Says Hanford Radioactive Waste Tanks Need New Plan

File photo. There are 177 underground radioactive waste tanks at Hanford.
Anna King Northwest News Network

A new report by the federal Government Accountability Office calls for a better plan for leaking tanks of waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

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History and Culture
3:51 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Congress Approves Nuclear History Park At Hanford

File photo of the exterior of the Hanford B Reactor.
Billatq Wikimedia

Congress has approved a new national park in Washington state that commemorates the Manhattan Project at Hanford.

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Environment and Planning
3:25 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

National Defense Bill Includes Museum At Hanford's B-Reactor

File photo of Hanford's B Reactor, the world's first, full-scale nuclear reactor
U.S. Department of Energy

A bill that passed Thursday in the U.S. House includes big changes for the Tri-Cities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 would create a new set of national parks in honor of the top-secret Manhattan Project.

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Environment and Planning
4:53 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Senators, Congressman Pile On To Call For Hanford Vapor Fix

Tobin Fricke Wikimedia

For the third time this week there are calls to protect workers from hazardous vapors at Hanford. This time from Washington’s congressional delegation.

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Environment and Planning
3:04 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Hanford Watchdogs, Union Intend To Sue Feds Over Tank Vapors

Three groups say intend to sue the U.S. Department of Energy and a contractor over vapors from storage tanks at Hanford.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Thursday three groups with ties to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation announced they intend to sue the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

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Environment and Planning
3:25 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Washington State Steps Up To Sue Over Hanford Tank Farm Vapors

Washington state intends to sue the federal government if Hanford workers are not better protected at the tank farms on the site.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington have been complaining of vapors from radioactive sludge for decades.

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