The Tri-Cities is located close to the Hanford Project, also known as Hanford or The Area. Hanford traces its roots to World War II and its role in the creation of plutonium used in one of the nuclear bombs that brought an end to the war. The picture above is one of the uncompleted WPPSS’s (Washington Public Power Supply System) nuclear power generation plants that were mothballed years ago.
Today, Hanford is the location of significant scientific research (Pacific Northwest National Labs and other facilities), a commercial operating nuclear reactor and some manufacturing. It may also be the construction site of a new type of modular nuclear reactor. In addition, a massive cleanup effort at Hanford is underway including the building of the VIT plant. This facility, one of the largest government projects ever undertaken, will turn high level nuclear waste into glass.
Hanford is just a short drive from Richland. Napoli’s, a great new Italian restaurant, opened near Hanford and after dinner we decided to take the short drive out to Hanford. There is much to see out at Hanford by simply driving the roads. You can drive by the old FFTF (Fast Flux Test Facility), a fast breeder reactor built completed in 1978, the B Reactor Museum, old uncompleted WPPSS nuclear reactors and the currently operating Energy NW commercial nuclear power plant.
For our drive out we were treated to some elk that decided to cross the road near the Energy NW Generating Station.
This is the old FFTF (Fast Flux Test Facility) which was an experimental fast breeder reactor. The reactor is no longer operating but was an amazing facility. The reactor used liquid sodium for cooling. Sodium becomes a liquid at 208 degrees Fahrenheit. I worked out at this facility for a while right out of high school in 1976.