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About Hanford

Hanford Mission

Elk standing along the Columbia River

Mission: Safe, efficient and effective cleanup, protective

of the workforce, the public and the environment

Key Site Activities:

  • Safe and secure operations
  • Manage, treat and disposition tank waste
  • Stabilize aging structures
  • Demolish retired facilities
  • Remediate waste sites
  • Treat contaminated groundwater
  • Manage Site Infrastructure

Cleanup of the Hanford Site is overseen by two Department of Energy Offices, the Richland Operations Office (RL) and the Office of River Protection (ORP).

The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for one of the largest nuclear cleanup efforts in the world, managing the legacy of five decades of nuclear weapons production. At its peak, this national weapons complex consisted of 16 major sites, including vast reservations of land in the States of Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.

Nowhere in the DOE Complex is cleanup more challenging than at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington. Hanford made more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors along the Columbia River. Five huge plants in the center of the Hanford Site processed 110,000 tons of fuel from the reactors, discharging an estimated 450 billion gallons of liquids to soil disposal sites and 56 million gallons of radioactive waste to 177 large underground tanks. Plutonium production took place between 1943 and 1989.

Hanford cleanup began in 1989, when a landmark agreement was reached between DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington State. Known as the Tri-Party Agreement, the accord established milestones for bringing the Hanford site into compliance with federal and state environmental regulations.

After more than 40 years of cleanup, considerable progress has been made at Hanford, reducing the risk the site poses to the health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment.

Hanford Site Cleanup Overview Fact Sheet

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Last Updated 02/15/2024 2:26 PM