Long-term stewardship of the Hanford site must ensure its overall Manhatten Project history is preserved as facilities are demolished, secured and further utilized. Optimum use of this vast area must be accomplished without endangering our water, the public and the environment. Use of areas/facilities needs planning to ensure it is beneficial for the Tri-City area, Columbia Basin, Washington state and our national government.
The total cleaned-up Hanford site would consist of clean roads to make all lands freely accessible to the public. The B Reactor Museum, the Hanford Reach Monument, FFTF, cleanup monuments and other remaining support facilities could combine to make up a Hanford's "Nuclear National Park."
B Reactor Museum has already proved itself invaluable for tourist understanding about the Hanford production reactor's operation. Historical remains are preserved to display various aspects of the reactor's operation and production of the plutonium. Excellent verbal descriptions are provided on walk-through tours.
The Reach National Monument is a unique part of the Hanford site, still preserved as original condition of the Hanford town, White Bluffs, Columbia River and surrounding areas. It is apparent there are little adverse affects on the vegetation and wildlife activity on this reserve-type area.
The FFTF (Fast Flux Test Facility) Project was successful from the first proposals through design, research and development, construction, plant acceptance testing and initial operation. This facility was self sustaining as evidenced by its good operating record over its past 20 years of operation. The FFTF has already provided materials research to expedite improvement of reactor plants around the world.
Clean-up monuments would have security fences installed around permanent cleaned-up waste areas and building sites to protect the public. Each fenced site could have tourist- actuated audio stations providing description and history of that particular site -- all sites combined would help tell the Hanford production story side of the Manhattan Project! The preserved history would span from initial Hanford construction days to present power production and medical research technology. Tourists could visit these monuments and museums to view and hear the overall Hanford atomic history.
Someday, combining the B Reactor Museum and Hanford Reach National Monument efforts, with the upcoming "Hanford Cleanup Monuments" into one overall Hanford Nuclear National Park could result in great savings for DOE. Recreational areas could be established and clearly marked as bike paths, hiking trails, fishing, boating, etc. activities. Commercial businesses and fabricators could build facilities for ready access to roads, rail and water transport needs. Even a public airstrip may be possible for commute/transport purposes. DOE may award new nuclear projects to construct at Hanford where readily accepted by public. This would all be near Battelle's very supportive Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Almost any other applications could utilize the large cleaned up site and still naturally clean areas of land.
Let's not lose this chance for a national monument to preserve the atomic age history at Hanford. Nuclear energy is good -- we just need to deal realistically with requirements for processing the radioactive waste products.
-- DON MEYERS, Kennewick