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Published on : Monday, December 21, 2015
The most polluted nuclear weapons production site in the USA is now its latest national park and thousands of people are expected to tour the Hanford Nuclear Reservation next year, home of the world’s first full-sized nuclear reactor, near Richland, about 200 miles east of Seattle in Washington.
Although details of the new national park are still being worked out, the plan is to increase the number of tourists and school groups visiting the site.
However, they won’t be allowed anywhere near the nation’s largest collection of toxic radioactive waste.
“Everything is clean and perfectly safe,” said Colleen French, the U.S. Department of Energy’s programme manager for the Hanford Park. “Any radioactive material is miles away.”
The Manhattan Project National Historic Park, signed into existence in November, also includes sites at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Manhattan Project is the name for the U.S. effort to build an atomic bomb during World War II.
At Hanford, the main attractions will be B Reactor — the world’s first full-sized reactor — along with the ghost towns of Hanford and White Bluffs, which were evacuated by the government to make room for the Manhattan Project.
French said, the Energy Department will continue its tours of the B Reactor and the old town sites that began in 2009 and fill up with some 10,000 visitors a year.