“A lot of the people come here with a lot of questions,
and a lot of people come here with some concerns.”
Rich Buel, Department of Energy
This quote by Rich Buel, a Department of Energy employee, summarizes a common public view of the Hanford site in southeastern Washington State.
Many in the Pacific Northwest region are aware the site exists; but what really happens in this “secret” place known as Hanford? In response to these questions and concerns, the Department of Energy created The Hanford Story, a multi-media presentation of several chapters. This documentary takes a look at a complex, historical location and makes it understandable for the general public by providing an outline and basic information on the Hanford site.
When completed, The Hanford Story will consist of several installments, or chapters, that describe different areas and ideas surrounding the Hanford site. These chapters will provide a complete outline of the history of the site, the impressive plutonium production effort during WWII and the Cold War, today’s cleanup activities, and a glimpse into the possibilities of future uses of the 586-square mile government site.
Representatives of the Department of Energy and its contractors are available to show videos to groups and answer questions. The videos will also be available for display in a mobile kiosk in the coming months. Please contact us at HSB@rl.gov if you’re interested in having a speaker or kiosk visit your location.
Change. Toxic. Controversial. These are words that have been used to describe Hanford in the past. Take a look at The Hanford Story: Overview to find out what Hanford means to you.
The legacy: 450 billion gallons of liquids discharged directly to soil disposal sites from Hanford’s plutonium production facilities during the Cold War. The cleanup: about 65 square miles of ground water. Take a look at The Hanford Story: Groundwater to find out how the water is being restored to drinking water standards to protect the nearby Columbia River.
In April 2009, the Hanford Site received a nearly $2 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Contractors quickly hired thousands of new employees for temporary stimulus jobs in environmental cleanup. As the work comes to a close, the Department extends its thanks to Hanford workers, regulators, the states of Washington and Oregon, Tribes, stakeholders, and surrounding communities for making the reduction of Hanford’s footprint of cleanup a reality.
Fifty-six million gallons of radioactive waste are contained in Hanford’s Tank Farms, threatening the nearby Columbia River. Take a look at The Hanford Story: Tank Waste Cleanup to learn how the waste will be retrieved from the tanks and treated at the Waste Treatment Plant for long-term disposal.
The Future Chapter of the Hanford Story illustrates the potential and possibilities offered by a post-cleanup Hanford. From land use plans and preservation at Hanford to economic development and tourism opportunities, the Future chapter touches on a variety of local economic, cultural and environmental perspectives.
Hanford produced nearly two-thirds of the nation's plutonium from the 1940s to the 1980s, and the Plutonium Finishing Plant was a key part of that mission. Today, the plant is Hanford's most hazardous facility and poses a monumental cleanup challenge to the Department of Energy and contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company
This is the seventh chapter of The Hanford Story, a multimedia presentation that provides an overview of the Hanford Site—its history, today's cleanup activities, and a glimpse into the possibilities of future uses of the 586-square-mile government site in southeast Washington State.