Radiation-contaminated areas in the United States

Plutonium factories at Hanford, in Washington State, U.S.


In 1942, as part of the “Manhattan Project,” a military base in Hanford, Washington, was turned into manufacturing site for plutonium to fuel atomic bombs. From 1962 to 1965, the federal government conducted secret experiments at Hanford, code-named “Green Run,” in which radioactive elements were deliberately released into the environment to see what effeould have on the human and animal populations in the area. The public was not informed of these experiments. [ 2 ]

In 1971 the Hanford plutonium factories were finally closed. The site is heavily contaminated with radioactive materials such as phosphorus –32 and zinc –65. Some of this material, representing 22 million Ci (Curie) of radiation, leaked into Columbia River, which is still heavily contaminated though it remains a very popular fishing ground. [ 2 ]


Ladybird beetle from Richland near Hanford, Washington
Watercolor, Richland 1998
The left wing is shorter


Ladybird Beetle from Richland, USA