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Environment | Think Out Loud

Documentary Sheds Light on Lives of First Hanford Employees

Located in southeastern Washington State, the Hanford Nuclear Site was carefully chosen in 1943 because it was an isolated area. It was 650 square miles of desolate terrain, ten miles from the nearest highway and railroad tracks.

The new Hanford documentary produced by Oregon Experience airs Monday, September 16th at 9pm on OPB TV.

Residents of the area were given thirty days to relocate, and workers were brought in from all over the country to begin construction. Despite the health risks of exposure, employees in charge of producing plutonium and uranium were kept in the dark about the details of what exactly they were making. Because of the sensitivity of the project, outside contact was extremely limited and most Hanford employees lived in secrecy and isolation.

See a timeline of Hanford’s history here.

Do you have questions about the history of the Hanford nuclear site?


  • Michele Gerber: Historian and author of On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of The Hanford Nuclear Site
environment hanford nuclear waste history

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