The Department of Energy is trying a new way to tell the story of the Hanford nuclear reservation -- with a video series.
The first chapter, a 17-minute overview of Hanford, has been finished and posted online. It cost $150,000, according to DOE.
It was shown at the Hanford State of the Site meetings in the Northwest this spring and also can be viewed at www.youtube. com/hanfordsite.
"We thought it was important to provide people with a high-quality look at the Hanford site, Hanford history, our strategy for cleanup and a look toward the future," said Geoff Tyree, DOE spokesman.
People don't understand a lot of the work being done at Hanford and deserve to see how their tax money is being spent on environmental cleanup, he said.
DOE is addressing that with the video program, which will cover the history of the site and DOE's cleanup strategy, plus future chapters that cover specific topics. Eventually the series will be available for display at a mobile kiosk, according to DOE.
Tours of Hanford are popular, but each year all seats are claimed the same day registration opens for all the tours offered that year.
"This is the next best thing to taking a tour of the Hanford site," Tyree said.
The overview video starts with the nuclear reservation's creation as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. It produced the plutonium used in the nation's first atomic explosion and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
Hanford continued to produce plutonium -- the most expensive material on the planet by weight, according to the video -- through the Cold War.
But wartime production did not include environmentally sound ways to dispose of the massive amounts of waste produced.
The video looks at what makes the cleanup so complicated and why it is taking so long.
In addition to posting the video online, DOE and its contractors will show the video to groups and answer questions as a service of the Hanford Site Speakers Bureau, another relatively new initiative to provide information about Hanford. Call 376-6968 or email HSB@rl.gov to request a speaker.