The third of Hanford’s three original nuclear reactors is the F Reactor. F is the reactor located closest to present day Richland.
F Reactor became operational in February of 1945 and ran for more than twenty years until it was shut down in June of 1965. Originally, the F Reactor used about 35,000 gallons of water per minute to cool the reactor during operations. However, as the facility expanded and became more efficient, F needed almost 70,000 gallons of water per minute to keep the heat generated by the nuclear chain reaction under control.
The F Reactor was cocooned in 2003. In 2008, radiation technicians entered F for the first time to examine the reactor building and confirm that no radiation was leaking from the reactor and ensure that nothing was getting inside the building. With the exception of seeing evidence of some mice and insects, the reactor building appeared to be in perfect condition.