Hanford Site

Three federal contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say they’ll lay off 450 workers over the next year.

How much sludge can be dumped into a double-shelled radioactive waste tank before flammable gas might build up in a big bubble?

Nuclear engineer Walt Tamosaitis says he was removed from his position because he brought up safety concerns.

After nearly a year of study, the U.S. Department of Energy says fewer radioactive waste tanks appear to be leaking at Hanford than originally thought.

Community leaders in southeast Washington are looking to develop parts of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as a prime spot for tourists.

Anna King

In southeast Washington, and in southern Russia there are two atomic cities a world apart but with surprising similarities. The new book “Plutopia” studies the cities of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia. Both places made plutonium for nuclear bombs. And both sprung up from desolate places during WWII and the Cold War.

The 11th Waste Tank To Be Cleaned Up At Hanford

Oct 25, 2013
Washington River Protection Solutions

A federal contractor says it’s finished pumping out the radioactive waste from one of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s single-hulled underground tanks. The federal government says that’s the 11th tank cleared out so far. Contractors used a small robot that is somewhat like a remote-control bulldozer.

The U.S. Department of Energy faces a $115,000 fine for the way a contractor handled asbestos at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington.

In early November, a federal appeals court will consider the case of a well-known Hanford whistleblower. Walter Tamosaitis argues his career was essentially killed after he voiced safety concerns at the southeast Washington nuclear cleanup site. Earlier this month, the high-level manager was laid off for good. It wasn’t retaliation according to the federal contractor that employed him. But U.S. senators and watchdog groups fear this turn will make other workers with safety concerns clam up.

Washington officials say they’re disappointed but not surprised by news that the federal government likely will miss several more cleanup deadlines at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

At Hanford, radioactive sludge stews in aging underground tanks not far from the Columbia River. A 1989 agreement created the timeline for treating that caustic gunk. But the task has proven extremely difficult: A waste treatment plant has been plagued by whistleblowers, critical federal investigations, cost overruns and delays.

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