hanford science on tap

What Lies Beneath: Nuclear Remediation Along the Columbia

For more than 40 years, the federal government produced plutonium for America’s nuclear weapons program at Hanford Site, in SE Washington. Since plutonium production ended in 1989, the focus has shifted to the world’s largest and most expensive environmental cleanup effort.

When people hear about the cleanup of nuclear waste at Hanford, reactions range from outrage to concern. The amount of hazardous waste is vast, and the cleanup effort took some time to find legs. This talk will give a quick history of Hanford Site and explore past and present effects on the Columbia River.

Near the Oregon border lay extensive contamination in hundreds of solid waste burial trenches and contaminated facilities, including 9 former plutonium production reactors and 5 large chemical reprocessing plants. About 50 miles of the Columbia River runs through Hanford Site before flowing into the state. Surface cleanup is nearly complete along the shoreline, and groundwater treatment has greatly reduced the amount of contaminants reaching the Columbia River.

Sara Lovtang works for the OR Department of Energy. Through Superfund regulations, she and other members of the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council strive to restore ecosystems injured by releases and cleanup activities at the Hanford Site. Before her career with ODOE, she was a plant ecologist with the USDA Forest Service and interpreted Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standards for the OSHA in Washington DC.

  • Event Date

    Wednesday, October 9, 2024

  • Start Time

    7:00 pm Pacific

  • End Time

    8:30 pm Pacific

  • Tickets


    General Admission: $20

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    Ticket fine print

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  • Venue

    Kiggins Theatre