Want to learn about Hanford?

Let us come to you to talk about Hanford. The former plutonium production site's history is rich and complex — from a science and engineering perspective, and from a human and social one.

The stories about Hanford, combined with current environmental challenges, create engaging learning opportunities for citizens and students of all ages and interests. From the history of the Manhattan Project to preserving the Columbia River, salmon, and restoring tribal access to traditional fishing and hunting, we'll help you understand what Hanford means to you, the Pacific Northwest, and the nation.

Facts about Hanford

The Southeast Washington Hanford nuclear waste site is dubbed "one of the most contaminated places on Earth." Here are a few facts about Hanford:

Elk graze near the original Hanford High School, one of the only original buildings on the site.

  • The 580-square-mile Hanford site, bordered by the Columbia River in Southeast Washington, became the primary plutonium production site for America's nuclear weapons program during World War II and throughout the Cold War.
  • Vast amounts of contamination left over from plutonium production continue to pollute the environment and challenge state and federal agencies charged with cleanup.
  • The ongoing cleanup effort costs U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
  • Significant progress has been made in cleaning up contaminated soil and groundwater.
  • The public must stay engaged to ensure a safe and complete cleanup.

It’s important that the public understands the complexities of the cleanup and why it matters. That's why we make the effort to explain and discuss these challenging issues by visiting your community group, professional association or classroom. ​If you're not quite ready for a presentation, check out some answers to our most frequently asked questions below.

Presentation Options

Fill out our online form to request a speaker, or contact us with any questions.
Students in grades 4-12

We give presentations to students in grades 4-12.

Elementary students raise their hands to answer questions at Salmon Summit.

Our presentations include materials aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Washington State Learning Standards. They are ideal for social studies, civics, science, and English/Language Arts classes. We share the history and science, and discuss possible future careers at Hanford.

College students Community groups

How can you get involved?

You can get involved — submit an online comment, attend public meetings, and join our email lists to keep up-to-date on news about Hanford.
Public comment periods

Your involvement is encouraged, and the law requires that an opportunity for public participation be offered on major decisions. The state and federal agencies involved with the Hanford site hold public comment periods and hearings where all comments from the public are welcome. Comments are recorded, considered by the cleanup agencies, and responded to in writing. Documents open for public comment are available at the Hanford Information Repositories. Submit an online comment.

Email lists Hanford Events Calendar

How are we doing with public involvement?

The Tri-Party Agreement Agencies conduct an annual survey to see what the public thinks about engagement opportunities. See how we did in 2018. We will be conducting 2019's survey early next year. 


Is Hanford safe? Is radiation monitored in the Columbia River? Does anyone get drinking water from the Columbia River? Is it safe to eat fish from the Columbia River? Is it safe to swim or play in the Columbia River? Who monitors the safety of the agricultural products along the Columbia River?