Hanford Test Site


Hanford Test Site

Location: Hanford, Washington

The Official Story: Covering 586 square miles, the Hanford site produced plutonium for nuclear weapons from 1944 to 1990. Three formal alerts have occurred in the last 13 years involving chemical explosions.

The Terrible Truth: During the December 1949 Green Run test, a massive cloud of radioactive iodine was released into the atmosphere simply to test recently installed radiological monitoring equipment. Passing over Spokane and reaching as far as the California-Oregon border, the cloud irradiated thousands of unsuspecting people. The current estimate to clean up the site’s waste is 52 billion dollars.

Fun With Atoms: The nearby Richland High School ‘Bombers’ have a mushroom cloud logo on their football helmets.

Quote: “Environmentally, [the Hanford site] is really interesting because there’s all these plants and animals that don’t exist anywhere else.” – Teri Hain, author of Atomic Farmgirl: Growing up right in the wrong place

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.