2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 09:50:29 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] HISTORY, RADIATION: Hanford (WA) tours
American Journeys | Hanford Site, Wash.
Unspoiled Nature in Shadow of a Nuclear Site

New York Times
September 4, 2009

Richland, Wash.

THE Hanford Reach National Monument in the arid steppe of south-central Washington is a nature lover’s dream with the Columbia River flowing wide and free below chalk-white cliffs, an abundance of birds, and populations of deer, elk and coyotes. But there’s a twist: It surrounds the Hanford nuclear reservation, one of the world’s largest environmental clean-up projects.

The 586-square-mile Hanford Site, administered by the United States Department of Energy, played a major role in the building of the world’s first atomic bomb and produced roughly two-thirds of the plutonium used in the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal before operations ceased in the 1980s. Today it’s home to nine abandoned atomic reactors and tons of radioactive waste.

This juxtaposition of spoiled and unspoiled land might bring to mind visions of radioactive tumbleweeds. But locals hope the unusual pairing of World War II and cold war history with the region’s natural beauty will play a bigger role in a tourist trade that already lures visitors with its wineries, golf courses, desertlike climate and ample sunshine.

In recent years the Energy Department, which oversees the Hanford Site’s cleanup, has opened the area to tours of sites like the B Reactor, the world’s first production-scale nuclear reactor. And in 2000 the 195,000 acres of shrub steppe that surrounds the site was declared a national monument. The gateways to the nuclear site, the national monument and other attractions are the cities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, which hug the Columbia south of Hanford.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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