hanford nuclear reservation

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.

Cleaning up the central part of the Hanford nuclear reservation will take even longer. That’s the bottom line of a series of regional public comment meetings kicking off Wednesday in Richland, Washington.

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

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.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

For decades Patty Murray’s image has been the working mom of the U.S. Senate. Agree with it or not, she’s brought home the bacon: Murray’s funneled billions of federal dollars into Washington and especially to the Hanford nuclear site.

Two branches of the federal government struck a deal Tuesday on when to clean up radioactive sludge near the Columbia River.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia Commons


Federal courts may force the U.S. Department of Energy to adhere to new timelines to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state.

Kai-Huei Yau

In World War Two, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was brand new. Sue Olson was there as a young secretary. She took shorthand, pumped out calculations and locked up top-secret papers. She's become known as one of the "Daughters of Hanford."

AP Images

President Barack Obama’s budget would spend $2.3 billion on cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 2016. But it shifts the focus of cleanup. The proposed budget would spend more on cleanup of the tank waste and a massive plant meant to treat that sludge. The President’s proposed budget would cut about $100 million from the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations office.

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.