Anna King

Richland Correspondent

Anna King, KPLU’s and N3’s Richland-based reporter, has been covering the Mid-Columbia since the spring of 2007. Before that she was a print reporter for the Tri-City Herald where she covered the environment, Native Americans, agriculture and Northwest wine. A Washington native, she's also a regular contributor to the magazine Wine Press Northwest and was a contributing author to the guide book Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest. Anna's memorable moment in public radio: "Being dusted from head-to-toe by a potato digger during harvest. Every square inch of me was covered in fine sand. Public radio is a dirty job!"

Ways To Connect

hanfordvitplant.com

Hanford contractors are welding the lids onto massive waste mixing tanks later this week. That’s despite serious concerns being raised by engineers at the plant in southeast Washington. A labor union that represents those workers has asked for a work stoppage and filed a formal grievance.

Washington Apple Commission

Washington State harvests about 65% of the nation's apples each fall. But this year, because of the chilly spring, those cheery orbs of goodness could be a bit smaller and possibly less sweet.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

This past spring we brought you the story of an Eastern Washington dairy town plagued by gang violence. Now, several months later residents of Outlook, Washington are fighting gangs with summer camps and social gatherings.

This spring a 17-year-old girl was shot at her home in Outlook, Wash. allegedly by four gang members. But just recently, blocks away from that murder site, children played bean bag toss and took whacks at a piñata.

A new agricultural plant near Othello in Eastern Washington is breeding highly specialized corn for the huge world-wide seed company Monsanto. The laboratories and growing facilities are slated to help the company more quickly distil the genetics of corn to get top characteristics to market.

Pacific Northwest National Lab

RICHLAND, Wash. – Ants have an incredible ability to track down food and swarm together against enemies. Now, scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Lab are hoping to use the same model to fight off cyberattacks.

The new tools are called digital ants.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Seniority won't be the only factor for determining layoffs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Pink slips are expected in six weeks by several Hanford contractors because federal stimulus money is tapering off.

CH2MHill and Mission Support Alliance are the federal contractors planning on the 1,600 lay-offs. The companies say union employees will lose their jobs based on seniority: those with the least experience going first.

Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

The nation needs a new agency to site a federal nuclear waste dump. That's the recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission.

The congressionally-chartered agency would decide where to store radioactive waste that's now sitting in aging underground tanks in southeast Washington.

The Northwest could end up keeping Hanford’s nuclear waste for 100 years or more under a recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission. President Obama appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission to look into the question of where to store the nation’s worst nuclear waste.

The new report says one option may be to store the waste at regional centers for more than 100 years while the country looks for a suitable permanent repository. That concerns Susan Leckband, who chairs a board that advises managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

BASIN CITY, Wash. – Peaches, nectarines and apricots are some of the iconic delights of summer. But this year, Northwest apricots are at about half the usual production according to the Washington Fruit Commission. Peaches and nectarines are down too, about 10 percent. And they're all late.

A message from Frank Russo, WTP Project Director, and Bill Gay, WTP Deputy Project Director

Fellow WTP employees,

Over the past several weeks, there have been reports about the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) Project that question our project’s safety culture and resolution of technical design issues, and that suggest cost and schedule objectives are favored over technical risk and safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

 SAFETY

RICHLAND, Wash. – The heads of two Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractors tried to reassure workers with a memo this week. It says there is a strong safety culture on the massive waste treatment plant now under construction. The memo comes after several workers have come forward with concerns about the plant.

Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – More Hanford workers are starting to raise safety concerns about a massive nuclear waste treatment plant under construction in southeast Washington.

A federal nuclear watchdog agency has called the safety culture at the Hanford facility “flawed.” That finding is bolstered by a string of new letters from workers who say they have firsthand knowledge of problems at the plant.

Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers have retrieved a key portion of radioactive waste ahead of schedule. That announcement came from the federal government today.

Courtesy of Hanford Contractor Bechtel

RICHLAND, Wash. – A high-level Hanford whistleblower is accusing the Department of Energy of being too cozy with its contractors at the federal nuclear reservation.

Walter Tamosaitis made that accusation in a letter released Monday. (Updated with link to a copy of the letter.)

Photo courtesy Jodi Johnson-Maynard

The giant Palouse earthworm has had a celebrity status among Northwest species,  but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied the worm endangered status today.

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