Welcome to Hanford Candy Land! To get in the holiday spirit, we put our building skills to work making Hanford reactors, underground tanks, and waste sites out of graham crackers and candy. Using pictures of reactors, underground tank diagrams, and maps of the Hanford site for reference, we transformed graham crackers, bags of icing, gummy candy, oreos, straws, toothpicks, big and small marshmallows, crumbled potato chips, mini gingerbread men, ice cream cones, fruit roll ups, and peach rings; into B-Reactor, K-East Reactor, F-Reactor, K-West Reactor, burial grounds, excavators, and an underground tank.
The experience of building evoked the genesis of Hanford. It was not easy to build Hanford and likewise, it was quite difficult to make walls and roofs, and curved tanks out of sugary treats. It gave us all a better appreciation for the skill and innovation needed back in the 1940’s to build all of these first-of-a-kind facilities. And as you can imagine, we made quite a mess, icing on our hands, on our pants, and on the floor. A nice parallel to the mess made by plutonium production at Hanford. Thankfully all of our “waste” was easily removed with some water and a soapy sponge. If only Hanford cleanup was that simple!
We brought our creations to the Seattle Greendrinks Holiday Fair and they were an absolute hit. When people came by to get a closer look, it created a perfect opportunity to use the irony of a candy nuclear reactor to break the ice and engage people about the very serious issues of Hanford cleanup. Hanford is a nasty, complicated problem and it was very helpful to have Hanford Candy Land at the table to take the edge off of those first moments when we were trying to engage and educate people without overwhelming them.
Mark your calendars for December 2013! We will definitely be bringing this back around next year, perhaps with a competition. Ideas welcome!
By: Liz Mattson