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
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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Environment and Planning
3:13 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Washington State Orders Hanford Managers To Empty Leaking Tank

View inside the space between the two walls of Tank AY-102 at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
U.S. Department of Energy

The state of Washington has ordered the federal government to start pumping out a leaking double-shell tank of waste at Hanford by September 1.

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Environment and Planning
2:51 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Energy Secretary Meets With Inslee On Hanford

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met with Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Monday.
Office of the Governor

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the U.S. Department of Energy is failing to provide him a “comprehensive” Hanford clean-up plan.

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Environment and Planning
4:10 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Hanford Whistleblowers: Senate Hearing Forces Few Answers Into The Open

File photo of Hanford whistlerblower Walt Tamosaitis testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight in 2011.
US Senate

In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, Hanford whistleblowers Donna Busche and Walt Tamosaitis weren’t allowed to speak before a Senate hearing.

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Environment and Planning
7:44 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Hanford Tanks: How Much Do We Know?

Anna King Northwest News Network

When it comes to the many underground tanks at Hanford filled with radioactive sludge, just how much do we know? U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says not enough.

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Environment and Planning
4:47 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Sen. Wyden: Hanford Tanks Like 'Groundhog Day,' Problems Keep Repeating

Tobin Fricke Wikimedia

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is saying cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is like something out of the movie "Groundhog Day."

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