Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Hanford officials and community boosters In southeast Washington are hosting a celebration Thursday at an historic nuclear reactor. A signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday made the Manhattan Project National Historical Park official.

Cleaning up the central part of the Hanford nuclear reservation will take even longer. That’s the bottom line of a series of regional public comment meetings kicking off Wednesday in Richland, Washington.

On November 10, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior will enter into an agreement establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

After more than two decades of fighting in court, the Hanford Downwinders case has ended. The approximately 3,000 Downwinders have all either dropped their claims or arrived at a settlement.

Kai-Huei Yau

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is one of the most contaminated sites on earth. And Susan Leckband is using her natural curiosity to help clean it up.

  As a girl Leckband just had to call the Frito-Lay company. Their number was clear, right on the back of the crinkly package. And she was curious.

Leckband’s mother and father were not amused.

Anna King


Hanford Nuclear Reservation officials Tuesday made public their plan to improve safety for workers in the so-called “tank farms.”

Hanford is home to 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge left over from World War II and the Cold War.

U.S. Department of Energy


President Barack Obama’s budget would spend $2.3 billion on cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 2016.

But it shifts the focus of cleanup. The proposed budget would spend more on cleanup of the tank waste and a massive plant meant to treat that sludge. But the president’s proposed budget would cut about $100 million from the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations office.

Atomic Heritage Foundation


When the federal government decided to make plutonium in southeast Washington, early farmers and whole villages of Native Americans were kicked out. Now a new collection of oral histories tells some of these stories of the Hanford site.

U.S. Department of Energy


A bill that passed Thursday in the U.S. House includes big changes for the Tri-Cities. 

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 would create a new set of national parks in honor of the top-secret Manhattan Project. That would include a museum at Hanford and other historical sites.

Rick McGuire / Courtesy of Washington Wild

Washington stands to get a new national park and thousands of acres of wilderness and wild and scenic river areas if the U.S. Senate approves a massive defense package that has passed the House.

The package, which has a handful of public lands bills tacked on to it, appears headed for passage next week. And in a curious twist, the tragic landslide in Oso seems to have opened the door to a bipartisan solution.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia


For the third time this week, there are calls to protect workers from hazardous vapors at Hanford, this time from Washington’s congressional delegation.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Three groups with ties to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation announced Thursday they intend to sue the federal government and its contractor.

They say Hanford leaders aren’t doing enough to protect workers from harmful radioactive tank vapors.


Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have been complaining of vapors from radioactive sludge for decades. They say the fumes give them sore throats, headaches and dizziness. 

Now Washington state says it intends to sue the U.S. Department of Energy in 90 days if more isn’t done to protect these workers.

U.S. Department of Energy

The Environmental Protection Agency intends to fine the U.S. Department of Energy up to $10,000 per week if radioactive waste just a stone's throw from the Columbia River isn’t cleaned up.

Behind the old called the K-West reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is a huge concrete swimming pool-like basin. It was built in the 1950s and meant to last for 20 years. That’s where workers dumped hot irradiated rods until they cooled. Later, they were shuttled off to be further refined into plutonium for bombs.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The state of Washington is going back to federal court over cleanup at Hanford, the nation’s largest nuclear waste site. Gov. Jay Inslee announced the latest court action Friday in an exclusive public radio interview.

The decision to return to court follows months of negotiations that failed to produce a new Hanford cleanup agreement. Inslee says the time has come once again to get the courts involved.

Anna King

Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who are worried about getting sick turned out in droves for a public meeting Wednesday night in Richland organized by a Seattle-area watchdog called Hanford Challenge.

About 45 people squeezed into tight rows in a small conference room.

Anna King

Since the spring, many workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have needed medical attention from exposure to chemical vapors. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy led a busload of journalists to points across the site to show off what they’re doing to keep workers safe.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia

Washington state and the federal government just gave themselves a 40-day deadline to come up with a cleanup plan for leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

If you think you’ve heard that before, it’s because you have.

Anna King

This week is the deadline for the state of Washington and the U.S. Department of Energy to reach an agreement on how to clean up radioactive tank waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The two sides can’t agree on a timelinel; it seems the state and the Energy Department have very different views of where things are.

Washington Incident Management Team #2/InciWeb

With conditions at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation tinder dry, workers were told Wednesday to practice fire safety at work and at home.

The news is about four weeks ahead of schedule for these types of fire weather alerts — a sign of a long, hot summer ahead.

Tobin Fricke / Flickr

The clock is ticking on the 40-day, 40-night compromise deadline between Washington state and the federal government for cleaning up Hanford’s leaking radioactive waste tanks.

But at Hanford’s annual update for the public in Richland this week, it was clear that any agreement between the state and the federal government is still a ways off.

AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson complained Monday that the federal government will likely miss major deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

They want the feds to stick to agreed upon deadlines and are demanding new tanks to replace the leaking old ones. But the feds say they, too, have a plan.

U.S. Department of Energy

The state of Washington has ordered the federal government to pump out a leaking double-shell tank of waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The state says pumping must begin by Sept. 1.

AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee says the U.S. Department of Energy is failing to provide him a “comprehensive” Hanford cleanup plan.

The Democrats’ comments follow a face-to-face meeting Monday with the secretary of energy who made a special trip to meet with the governor.

U.S. Senate

In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, Hanford whistleblowers Donna Busche and Walt Tamosaitis weren’t allowed to speak before a Senate hearing.

The former nuclear site workers had been informally invited to testify before the Homeland Security subcommittee, but that invitation was later blocked by the ranking minority Republican on the committee.

When it comes to the many underground tanks at Hanford filled with radioactive sludge, just how much do we know? U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says not enough.

AP Photo

There are "significant construction flaws" in some newer, double-walled storage tanks at Washington state's Hanford nuclear waste complex, which could lead to additional leaks, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Those tanks hold some of the worst radioactive waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site.

Anna King

A prominent whistleblower who raised safety concerns at the nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site has been fired from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Safety manager Donna Busche says employer URS Corp. told her she was being fired for “unprofessional conduct,” then escorted her out of the building early Tuesday.

AP Photo


Over the last several years, Hanford Nuclear Reservation managers have mishandled barrels and boxes of hazardous and radioactive waste in the central part of the southeast Washington site.

The state of Washington last Friday slapped the U.S. Department of Energy with a $15,000 fine.