Hanford Happy Hour

The broader context surrounding Hanford clean-up issues can be quite a challenge to wrap one’s mind around.  It takes patience, time, and commitment to grapple with the complicated history, impending decisions, and future outcomes of the nuclear waste facility.  University of Washington students from the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program proactively rose to the challenge on Monday, August 20th for another successful Inheriting Hanford happy hour.

Never a dull moment in the conversation, students’ previous exposure and awareness to Hanford topics reflected a wide range.  We discussed the breaking news of the double-shelled tank leak covered in the Los Angeles Times article on August 21, 2012.  One student reflected on her canvassing involvement with Initiative 297 in 2004.  That initiative, to stop proposed dumping of wastes in Hanford’s unlined soil ditches and halt the Bush administration’s proposal to expand mixed waste dumping at Hanford, was filed with a record 282,000 signatures.

We discussed books and movies that serve as helpful resources to brush up on the nuclear background of the United States.  The Atomic States of America, a movie featured in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, offers a captivating glimpse into the health consequences and risks of nuclear energy.  Another student found the book, Hanford: A Conversation About Nuclear Waste and Cleanup, helped her prepare for the Hanford assignment they’ll have for Fall quarter.

All agreed the informal and casual setting was a great way to ask questions and learn more about Hanford.

By: Jesse Gritton

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