Trajectories of Risk: Mapping Safety, Health, and Risk at Hanford

The People

Over the course of 70 years and through three distinct eras -- World War II, the Cold War, and the current Clean-up Era -- Hanford brought tens of thousands of individuals together. These people, in a variety of roles and relationships to one another, pulled off one of the most remarkable engineering feats in modern history, building the vast and sprawling plutonium production complex at Hanford without benefit of a prior industrial scale-up. They produced the fuel that unleashed the most terrible force in human history, the atomic bomb. They generated two-thirds of the plutonium for the American atomic arsenal. Pioneered a host of new fields and innovations in the sciences and technology. And today they are working to clean up the contamination left behind by 40 years of nuclear defense production. In every era, Hanford's workers have faced the challenge of working in an environment in which some of the risks of they would encounter were unknown and knowledge about other risks was evolving along with the science of nuclear production and nuclear cleanup.

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