background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
History and Culture
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.

Congress Approves Nuclear History Park At Hanford

Hanford_B_Reactor.jpeg
Billatq
/
Wikimedia
File photo of the exterior of the Hanford B Reactor.

Congress has approved a new national park in Washington state that commemorates the Manhattan Project at Hanford.

The defense spending bill passed by Congress Friday includes the biggest expansion of the national parks system in decades.

If this bill is signed into law by President Obama, it could bring thousands more visitors to the B Reactor at Hanford. The reactor was the first full-scale nuclear reactor and was built during World War II. 100,000 people visited the museum last year through the Department of Energy tours.

It will likely take a couple of years for the National Parks Service to get the new park up and running along with the sites at Los Alamos, New Mexico and Oakridge, Tennessee.