Monday, August 10, 2015

Nagasaki and the Washington Landscape

Missed posting this by a day as I was out in the field (yes, on a Sunday).

Above Nagasaki, Japan August 9, 1945 (Photo by Charles Levy)

Fission material for the first nuclear detonation (Trinity nuclear test) and the fuel for the second second atomic attack on Japan was made at the Hanford site north of Richland, Washington.

View from the east of one of the remaining atomic weapons nuclear reactors at Hanford
Columbia River between plant and photo shot with Rattlesnake Mountain the ridge in the distance

 The nuclear weapons fuel production left a significant mark on the landscape. Of course there is the waste legacy that continues to vex agency and state officials. The contamination also is a source of long term jobs for the area. The town of Hanford is long gone having been condemned along with the farmland in the vicinity. A large portion of the Hanford weapons site is now a National Monument. The presence of the nuclear plants precluded the construction of a dam and hence this is the only reach of the Columbia River in Washington State without a dam polling the water. 

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