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00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d430000The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington was home to Native Americans and later to settlers. It turned into an top-secret military workhorse during World War II and the Cold War. Now, it’s one of the most pressing and complex environmental cleanup challenges humanity is facing in the world.This remote area in southeast Washington is where the federal government made plutonium for bombs during WWII and the Cold War. It’s now home to some of the most toxic contamination on earth, a witch’s brew of chemicals, radioactive waste and defunct structures. In central Hanford, leaking underground tanks full of radioactive sludge await a permanent solution. Meanwhile, a massive $12 billion waste treatment plant, designed to bind up that tank waste into more stable glass logs, has a troubled history.00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d440000Anna King is public radio's correspondent in Richland, Washington, covering the seemingly endless complexities of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Workers Find 1950s Time Capsule At Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford Nuclear Reservation managers are trying to figure out who left a time capsule in the wall of a building there nearly 60 years ago. Demolition workers found a coffee can recently while they were tearing down a building near a reactor at the southeast Washington site.

“When I first saw it they had opened it just enough to see what was inside," says Archeologist Tom Marceau, who is managing the find. "They noticed it was filled with newspapers. They all date to mid to late September of 1955."

"I’ve been trying to chase down these gentlemen, there were three gentlemen that put a note in there, and basically the note said to whom it may concern and they signed their names. It would be nice to find these three guys or one of them to find out what it was they were doing and why they put this in there. Obviously the intent was to have it found someday, and here we are some 60 years later, we found it for them.”

The coffee can time capsule will be part of Hanford’s permanent collection of artifacts, or loaned out as a historical piece to museums.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.