Hanford Site

StoryCorps Northwest

The city of Richland was once a very small agricultural community. Then during the Second World War, the US army turned it into a bedroom community for workers on the Manhattan Project in neighboring Hanford. Richland became a closed city. Only residents had access, along with those who got Army clearance. Retired chemist Steve Buckingham, telling his daughter Theresa Bergsman about life in Richland in 1947.

RICHLAND, Wash. - The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is famously home to 53 million gallons of radioactive sludge. But over it's long history, the site has also collected scads of work materials, lab supplies and clothing that are also contaminated. Now, federal and state officials have agreed on a new set of deadlines for cleaning up that tricky waste.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Nuclear Reservation recently accepted another spent nuclear reactor from the U.S. Navy. The reactors travel by barge from the naval shipyard in Bremerton, along the Washington Coast and up the Columbia River to Richland.

The US Department of Energy is planning how and to what extent to clean up Hanford's leaking storage tanks, treat radioactive waste and deal with a contaminated reactor. The current preferred alternatives don't call for a full clean up of the site.

Twenty community members testified. Many, like Marilyn Cohen, also spoke out against having any further waste shipped to Hanford for storage and processing.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray had tough words Thursday for federal Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. She's angry over the decision by the Obama Administration to take Nevada's Yucca Mountain off the table as a possible nuclear waste storage site. Murray says that decision could push back cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Or she says it could mean Hanford becomes a permanent storage site for dangerous nuclear waste.

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu named a blue ribbon panel Friday to find a final resting spot for the nation's nuclear waste and spent fuel. It has just two years to come up with an alternative to Nevada's Yucca Mountain. As Richland Correspondent Anna King reports, the commission's findings have big implications for how the Hanford Nuclear Reservation deals with its high-level radioactive sludge. 

RICHLAND, Wash. - The Obama Administration says it plans to appoint a blue ribbon panel soon to determine the fate of the nation's radioactive waste. For years now the waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been destined for a deep hole in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. But as he promised in his campaign, President Obama stripped funding for Yucca. Now, Hanford officials are wondering where all the high-level waste in Washington State will go. Richland Correspondent Anna King reports.