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hanford contamination map

November 30, 2020

Scale of the Contamination. Hanford workers removed more than 90 tons of contaminants from groundwater beneath the nuclear reservation in the fiscal year that just ended, surpassing the amount removed the year before. We continue to monitor the groundwater and the treatment activities to limit the amount of contamination entering the Columbia River. This study provides an independent estimate of the areal and volumetric extent of groundwater contaminant plumes which are affected by waste disposal in the 100-K and 100-N Areas (study area) along the Columbia River Corridor of the Hanford Site. Hanford workers have removed 90 tons of contaminants from Hanford groundwater over the last 10 months, keeping it from reaching the Columbia River. Tom Bailie, who as a child grew up and continues to live on a farm near Hanford today, spoke to a Congressional Advisory Committee in 1994 showing a map he called "death mile" where "100 percent of those families drank the water, drank the milk, ate the food, have one common denominator that binds us together, and that is thyroid problems, handicapped children or cancer." At least 1,900 waste sites have been identified, including nine plutonium production reactors near the Columbia River and 500 contaminated facilities. Today at the 580-square-mile Hanford site, the water under 65 square miles is still contaminated beyond safe drinking water limits. At one time, six small scale nuclear reactors were located in the 300 Area which is only a few miles from the city of Richland. Despite mitigation efforts, Hanford remains the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and the focus of the nation's largest ongoing environmental cleanup effort. As of 2007, the Hanford site continued to retain 60% of all high-level radioactive waste managed by the U.S. Department of Energy and as much as 9% of all nuclear waste in the United States. Radioactive contamination introduced into the Columbia River affected a variety of aquatic animals and plant life. The Hanford Challenge, a local watchdog group, says that at least three deaths have a documented link to exposure at Hanford, including Gary Sall's. We oversee the monitoring and cleanup of contaminated water under the Hanford site. There are three main components to the Hanford Site cleanup: (1) River Corridor, (2) Central Plateau and (3) Tank Waste. Hanford’s 300 Area was home to the fuel manufacturing operations at the Site as well as the experimental and laboratory facilities.

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