Kai-Huei Yau

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is one of the most contaminated places on earth. It’s also one of the most sacred landscapes for Northwest tribes.

One woman is working to heal it.


Downstream from the Yakima Greenway, Hanford is changing. Cleanup is happening. But Natalie Swan is also changing, because of the southeast Washington nuclear site.

“I’m a quiet person,” she said. “But I’m getting a little bit louder.”

Fighting for Treaty rights

Anna King

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is saying cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is like something out the movie “Groundhog Day.” In a boathouse on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon,  Saturday, he said the problems at the nuclear site repeat over and over.

Senator Wyden says key documents at Hanford were kept from him, the State of Washington and the public.

Ron Wyden: “We were told in 2012 that this double-shelled tank … was an isolated issue. Now we have obtained documents indicating some very serious questions about whether that was actually the case.”

U.S. Department of Energy

Fifty years ago Thursday, President John F. Kennedy stepped off a Marine helicopter into the dry heat of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He was there to see the massive new N Reactor. The reactor was the first to produce both plutonium and power in the U.S. As Correspondent Anna King reports, the visit also was part of Kennedy’s efforts to de-escalate the Cold War.

Hanford worker Bill McCullough remembers Sept. 26, 1963 clearly when President Kennedy came to visit.
Bill McCullough: “It was a very hot day, and we hit bumper to bumper traffic.”