Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hanford back in the news and an "air-conditioned atomic suit"

By Jack Brummet, Energy Editor 

With Hanford back in the news due to the discovery of leaking radioactive waste containers, I remembered this great picture I had stashed away. This is a tearsheet from Popular Science magazine that I found in a drawer of ephemera at a bookstore.


The piece shows a "girl" with a Geiger counter, in an "atomic suit inflated with conditioned air" about to do her job at the Hanford site. The Hanford Atomic Site occupies 586 square miles in Benton County, in central Washington, just off the Columbia River. It was established in 1943 during World War II as the Hanford Engineer Works, part of the Manhattan Project, to provide plutonium for the development of nuclear weapons. Plutonium from Hanford was used to build the first nuclear bomb (the one tested in New Mexico), and used to build Fat Man, the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Hanford is now a storage facility for nuclear waste, and the only operating nuclear plant in Washington state.

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