Be Kind, Rewind -Rediscovering Hanford Films

By: Emily Peterson

Back in November, Hanford Challenge moved to our new office in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle. Along with us came a number of dusty old boxes that had been hiding in the nooks and crannies of the office HC had called home for almost a decade. As I was opening up boxes to sort supplies into their new homes, I was surprised to find one filled with VHS tapes — now I’m not too young to know what a VHS tape is, but I am young enough to know there is no way anyone is plugging in a VHS player in the office anytime soon.

So, like the millennial I am, I took to Google to determine whether I could find these interesting films in more modern, accessible formats.

As it turns out, the majority of them are now available for free on YouTube!

Here are some of the films Hanford Challenge has kept close over the years:

Freudian Slip: Our Nuclear Weapons Complex – The RadioActivist Campain

This 30 minute film from 2003 is split into three parts. The first, “Columbia’s Troubled Waters,” focuses on Hanford’s effects on the Columbia River’s ecosystem and the salmon population. The next two parts look into the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Protecting the Columbia River, The Hanford Cleanup – Oregon DOE

A 2006 informational short created by Oregon’s Department of Energy on the Hanford site, it’s history, cleanup process, and eventual vitrification.

Meltdown at Three Mile Island – PBS

An hour long, 1999 documentary detailing the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, a partial nuclear meltdown in reactor #2 of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. This one is not about Hanford, but is a great watch for those interested in learning more about the U.S.’s nuclear history.

Sex, Salmon, Secrecy – Moon Callison

This dramatically titled 30-minute film from 2003 promises tales of “government secrecy, gender-switching salmon in the Columbia River, and TRAC director Norm Buske’s quest to uncover the ‘radioactive’ truth about Hanford’s potential effects on the river, the salmon, and the environment.”

So if you find yourself with some downtime in this awkward post-Christmas but not quite New Years week, take some time to check out one of these films. I just made it easy for you!

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