Much like the Oak Ridge site, the 670-square-mile area in southeast Washington state chosen for the Hanford site (located near the Tri-Cities area) was sparsely populated and conveniently located near abundant water sources for hydroelectric power. Though a desert landscape well stocked with sand and gravel for building, it too featured a moderate climate and rapidly ballooned from a few scattered families to a bustling city, housing 50,000 workers at the height of the Manhattan Project.
Three onsite-constructed nuclear reactors, and additional chemical reprocessing plants, were designed by DuPont to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons with enriched uranium from Oak Ridge. As the reactors created plutonium and plants recovered it from irradiated uranium fuel, more than 500 onsite support facilities and tank farms stored the resulting radioactive liquid waste.
Tour the historic Hanford (Tri-Cities) site, and experience the B Reactor National Historic Landmark—the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, as designated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Visit Hanford High School and Construction Camp, the Agricultural Warehouse Complex and much more. Additional historical sites at Hanford are under development for future access.