Hanford VIT Plant

Columbia River Plutonium Production

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Plutonium Production

In January 1943, with the nation locked in war with Germany and Japan, the U.S. Army came to Hanford. The Army was looking for an isolated area for the top-secret Manhattan Project, the effort to build an atomic bomb. With the Columbia River providing the water to cool plutonium-producing nuclear reactors and Grand Coulee Dam supplying the electricity to power processing plants, Hanford was the ideal location.

The world’s first reactor, B Reactor, started up in September 1944. The first processing plant began operating in April 1945.

Hanford plutonium was used in the world’s first atomic bomb blast at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. A few weeks later a bomb made with Hanford plutonium leveled Nagasaki, Japan, ending World War II.

Hanford continued to operate in secret with little outside oversight through the 1980s. From its beginning in World War II until the end of the Cold War, Hanford’s primary mission remained plutonium production.

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In January 1943, with the nation locked in war with Germany and Japan, the U.S. Army came to Hanford. The Army was looking for an isolated area for the top-secret Manhattan Project, the effort to build an atomic bomb. With the Columbia River providing the water to cool plutonium-producing nuclear reactors and Grand Coulee Dam supplying the electricity to power processing plants, Hanford was the ideal location.

The world’s first reactor, B Reactor, started up in September 1944. The first processing plant began operating in April 1945.

Hanford plutonium was used in the world’s first atomic bomb blast at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. A few weeks later a bomb made with Hanford plutonium leveled Nagasaki, Japan, ending World War II.

Hanford continued to operate in secret with little outside oversight through the 1980s. From its beginning in World War II until the end of the Cold War, Hanford’s primary mission remained plutonium production.

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Hanford

Hanford

Hanford

Hanford

Hanford

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