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Hanford Nuclear Reservation

The southeastern Washington site that helped end WWII. Now one of the most irradiated locations on the planet.

Now: Thu., April 19, 2018, 7:01 a.m. | Search


In this file photo taken June 13, 2017, the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, right, stands adjacent to a dirt-covered rail tunnel, left, containing radioactive waste, amidst desert plants on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash. (Nicholas K. Geranios / Associated Press)

Health agency concerned about Hanford contamination spread

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 1, 2018, 4:58 p.m.

The Washington state Department of Health says there is a possible risk to the public if demolition of the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant continues without better controls to prevent the spread of radioactive contamination.

Blog Posts

Rattlesnake Mountain, shown here being scorched by the 2000 Hanford Fire. (Associated Press)

Rattlesnake Mountain access issue strikes chord in Tri-Cities

CONSERVATION -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments on options for access to Rattlesnake Mountain, a choice ridge of high ground near the Tri-Cities formerly restricted as a buffer to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Comments will be accepted until Nov. 13,...

State won’t extend Hanford deadline a third time

OLYMPIA -- Washington state will not give the federal government a third extension of the deadline for coming up with a way to resolve the dispute over cleaning up waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Unless the U.S. Department of Energy comes up with a...
White Bluffs bladderpod, are found primarily on federal lands, occupying cliffs overlooking the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. The species was recommended for Endangered Species Act protections in May 2012. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Sign up: Hanford Reach wildflower tours

NATIVE PLANTS -- Spring wildflower tours at Hanford Reach National Monument have proved so popular, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doubling the number of tours this year -- and asking people to sign up for a lottery to fill the slots. This year’s...

Court to Obama: Follow the law on waste repository

The federal government must resume work on the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada that would store the high-level nuclear waste from Hanford and other sites around the country, a federal appeals court said today. In what amounts to a judicial smackdown of the Obama administration,...

Nuclear waste leaking into soil at Hanford

Hanford is the most contaminated site in the western hemisphere and, twenty-five years into the cleanup, there are still new challenges to face. It's not like there weren't dangerous hurdles to begin with when you consider he facts: -56 million gallons of high-level radioactive waste...

“Hanford: Our Nuclear Neighbor” discussion next Wednesday at Gonzaga

Columbia Riverkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper and Sierra Club will host an evening discussion about Our Nuclear Neighbor: Hanford, connecting its historic downstream impacts, to the Columbia River, and downwind, to Spokane. The event will take place at Gonzaga University School of Law, Barbieri Moot Court Room...

McMorris Rodgers backed national park at Hanford

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, on Thursday backed a proposal creating a national park at three sites central to the creation of atomic weapons, including Hanford. The vote was bipartisan in its support and opposition. It failed 237-180. It needed supermajority support to move...

Friday Quote: “New Light on the Old Frontier”

At the end of Atomic Frontier Days (University of Washington Press) by John Findlay and Bruce Hevly, the authors tell us about a Gene Autry 1935 serial called The Phantom Empire. I've seen this film in its condensed version, and it's one of the most...

Occupy Portland takes on Hanford

On April 15th, Occupy Portland plans to set up near the Hanford Nuclear Facility. Why? "This is about human responsibility in the face of an epic environmental tragedy which has occurred and which will only get worse without us taking a stand," says the group....

Particles and Half-Lives: Artists on Hanford

Green Acre Radio has an exciting feature on a new exhibit called "Particles and Half-Lives." It looks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation through the eyes of artists and poets inspired by the site. They shed a new and interesting light on the place that created...

Elk graze on the shrub steppe of the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve near and on the Hanford nuclear reservation. There now are too many elk on the reserve and federal wildlife officials say they will kill as many as 60. 
 (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Tribes balk at plan for hunters to cull elk at Hanford Reach monument

HUNTING -- The Fish and Wildlife Service may allow hunting on Hanford Reach National Monument land near Rattlesnake Mountain to cull a herd of elk damaging nearby wheat fields. Over several years, managers hope to reduce the heard of about 700 elk to about 350....
Bull elk with harem on Hanford Nuclear Reservation in September 2011. (Erika Holmes)

Bull elk takes heat at Hanford

BIG GAME -- We don't think of elk as being creatures game for hot weather, but the elk enjoying the sanctuary of the near-desert conditions on the Handford Nuclear Reservation are doing just fine, thank you. Erika Holmes, who works at the Hanford Site, snapped...

Plans progressing for Hanford history museum

RICHLAND, Wash. — Plans are moving forward for construction of a $41 million museum at Richland that would tell the history of the Hanford nuclear reservation in World War II and the Cold War. The Corps of Engineers has approved the environmental review and a...

Two important new Hanford books

Here are two new books about a crucial and controversial issue in our region: “Atomic Frontier Days: Hanford and the American West” (University of Washington Press, $24.95), by John M. Findlay and Bruce Hevly. The authors tell the complex and fascinating story of Hanford’s atomic...

Cancer Claims Lake City Downwinder

Shannon Rhodes’ losing battle to prove that Hanford radiation emissions caused her spreading thyroid cancer spanned two trials and ended in federal court six years ago. Now, her life has ended as well – cut short by complications from metastasized thyroid cancer. Rhodes, a Coeur...

Radioactive levels are ten times the lethal limit at Hanford

Workers cleaning up the nation's most contaminated nuclear site discovered an area of soil so radioactive it exceeds lethal limits says the U.S. Department of Energy. (Outside a laboratory, a toy wagon is used to carry radioactive material at the Hanford Atomic Energy plant in...

Fed audit says millions wasted to avoid sending Hanford nuke jobs to Idaho

An inspector general's audit says the U.S. Department of Energy wasted $25 million because it didn't ship certain radioactive wastes from Hanford, Wash. to Idaho for processing, in part because Hanford workers protested that the move would shift jobs to Idaho; Tri-City Herald reporter Annette...

Fed audit says millions wasted to avoid sending Hanford, Wash. jobs to Idaho

An inspector general's audit says the U.S. Department of Energy is spending an extra $25 million because it didn't ship certain radioactive wastes from Hanford to Idaho for processing, in part because Hanford workers protested that the move would shift jobs to Idaho; click below...

Another Green Monday

On Sunday some 50,000 smiling people crossed the finish line of the 34th annual Lilac Bloomsday Run. Around the same time on Sunday, some 70 miles east on Interstate 90, the names of 91 dead miners were read aloud during a memorial anniversary of the...

Public hearing in Spokane about Hanford’s use as a radioactive waste dump

Spokane Hearing: Hanford as a National Radioactive Waste The United States Department of Energy would like to use Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump meaning THOUSANDS of truckloads of radioactive waste will roll through Spokane en route to the Hanford Nuclear waste side near...

Hanford workers with cancer may get compensated?

In case you missed this story, it appeared as a blip on the wire. From the AP: More former workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation may be eligible for compensation for developing cancer due to radiation exposure.Federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has...

Tuesday Video I

The story of the $27 billion lawsuit against the Chevron Corporation is now featured in a documentary titled “Crude.” (Film still from "Crude.")Dubbed the "Amazon Chernobyl," plaintiffs of the lawsuit are 30,000 Ecuadorians living in the Amazonian rainforest, who claim their lives irrevocably changed from...

Hanford poop - yes, it’s come to this

The story of cleanup efforts at Hanford hit the national radar last week as Rachel Maddow did a story about radioactive waste removal and stimulus spending and radioactive rabbit poop. Yes that's right, radioactive rabbit poop. At an area that is the center of the...

KYRS: The Karen Dorn Steele interview

Today at 1pm, tune into KYRS Thin Air Community Radio (FM 92.3 & 89.9) to hear Tim Connor’s interview with award-winning investigative reporter Karen Dorn Steele. Both are brilliant journalists, and Steele will discuss the challenges of covering Hanford and, inexorably, sensitive topics like her...

Another Green Monday

Yesterday marked the 64th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki and our thoughts turned to Hanford. Six miles from the Columbia River, Hanford’s B Reactor was an integral part of the Manhattan Project, producing plutonium for the “Fat Man” bomb that was dropped...

Another Green Tuesday

For DTE it was another wonderful weekend on the road - enjoying the West. Half of us experienced Bellingham, while the other half the Gorge. Being out in new places, or just being out of Spokane, it's always interesting to hear what people have to...

Friday Quote

“When I talk to other environmental activists who’ve been in fights like this, they often tell me they never know when to celebrate their victories, because victories are reversible, and you don’t want to get complacent. I don’t even remember what I did in 1988...

Photo of the day

More than a landmark on the skyline, the Post-Intelligencer globe now sadly represents the uncertain future of print journalism in Seattle, and perhaps the industry at large. Still, it’s not without visual curiosity, as yesterday was the last tour of the iconic structure. We’re not...

Take the money and run

Get ready for a piece of stimulus pie as a preliminary analysis reported the proposed package could create or save 75,000 jobs in Washington state. Initial details are sketchy but Sen. Patty Murray said the state would receive roughly $500 million for roads, highways and...

Nuclear archaeology

One of DTE’s favorite columnists, Knute Berger of Crosscut, has a new essay about the discovery of historic plutonium in a safe at Hanford. He writes “’Nuclear archaeology’” itself is an interesting term because for the most part, nuclear waste is something you don't want...

Excellent Hanford editorial

In “Our View: Time to settle Hanford case, avoid costly trials,” the Spokesman-Review editorial board hits all the right notes, concluding “the legal maneuvering to avoid responsibility has gone on long enough,” in the case of the potential 2, 000 downwinders exposed to radiation from...

Spokesman-Review story roundup

1954 Hanford photo by Nat Farbman from LIFE/Google archive. Good news for Hanford downwinders’ lawsuit. Be sure to check out Karen Dorne Steele’s feature on the U.S. supreme court rejecting an appeal by Hanford contractors. This recent action raises the hopes of a settlement for...

Photo of the day

Outside a laboratory, a toy wagon is used to carry radioactive material at Hanford Atomic Energy plant in 1955. Photo by Nat Farbman, from the amazing LIFE/Google archive.

Obama gets to know Hanford

It was what some consider a rare gaffe during a campaign stop in Pendleton months ago but at least he was honest about the unfamiliarity: Barack Obama didn’t know what Hanford was. (Watch Q and A clip here.) The Tri-City Herald reports---in an unusually subjective...

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