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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Environment and Planning
8:16 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Hanford Workers Say They’re Not Satisfied With Working Conditions At Tank Farms

Dozens of workers from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation gathered for public meeting organized watchdog group Hanford Challenge.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who are worried about getting sick turned out in droves for a public meeting Wednesday night in Richland organized by a Seattle-area watchdog called Hanford Challenge.

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Environment and Planning
7:46 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Hanford Vapors: It's Still Difficult To Track Down The Solution

Handheld air monitors are used in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's tank farms to help keep workers safe. But a human nose can detect far less concentrated chemicals, than this high-tech machinery.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

Since the spring, a run of workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have needed medical attention from exposure to chemical vapors. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy led a bus load of journalists to points across the site to show off what they’re doing to keep workers safe.

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Environment and Planning
6:42 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Washington State, Energy Department Continue Talks Over Hanford Tank Cleanup

Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

  Washington state and the U.S. Department of Energy just gave themselves a 40-day deadline. They need a clear cleanup plan for leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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Energy
8:06 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Japan Looks To Richland-Made Filters To Treat Radioactive Water

John Raymont, founder and president of Kurion, stands inside one of his company’s containerized mobile strontium filter units. These shipping-container-like machines will be shipped from the build site in Richland to Japan’s crippled nuclear plant in July
Anna King Northwest News Network

Japan’s crippled nuclear plant is bleeding hazardous radioactive water at a mind-staggering rate. Officials at Fukushima Daiichi are filling 37-foot-tall tanks nearly every other day. Now, in southeast Washington, a company called Kurion is developing and building a mobile filter system to help deal with that troublesome radioactive wastewater.

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Environment and Planning
6:17 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Court-Ordered Negotiations Between Feds, Washington State Are Up

File photo of a nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

This week is the deadline for the State of Washington and the U.S. Department of Energy to reach an agreement on how to clean up radioactive tank waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The two sides can’t agree on a timeline.

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Environment and Planning
3:14 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Time Ticking On 40-Day Negotiations Over Cleanup Of Hanford Tanks

Credit Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia

The clock is ticking on the 40-day, 40-night compromise deadline between Washington state and the federal government for cleaning up Hanford’s leaking radioactive waste tanks.

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Environment and Planning
3:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Can Hanford's Tank Vapor Problems Be Fixed?

File photo of a crew working on a waste tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 2010.
Credit U.S. Department of Energy

Each year federal and state managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington give a rundown on how things are going.

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Environment and Planning
5:52 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Washington State Tells Feds Hanford Cleanup Must Go Faster

File photo. Construction of Hanford's waste treatment plant is way behind schedule.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson complained Monday that the federal government will likely miss major deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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Environment and Planning
6:31 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Hanford Fumes Lead Some Workers To Seek Medical Attention

Anna King Northwest News Network

Some workers from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s tank farms were transported to a Richland hospital Tuesday morning.

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