Reports  .  Articles  .  Fact Sheets  .  Comment Letters  .  Other Resources

As part of our work to ensure the complete and timely cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Site, we review and critique cleanup and restoration plans. We write comment letters detailing our analysis, publish articles and blog posts, and prepare fact sheets to help others understand the plans and how to protect the Columbia River. By clicking on the underlined links on this page, you can view and download our work.

KOIN News Public Service Announcements featuring Columbia Riverkeeper

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Hanford and the River Cover

Hanford & the River (2013)

Hanford & the River describes the history of nuclear waste production and the impact on the Columbia River. It surveys the pollution problems, current cleanup actions, plans to import more radioactive waste, and ways that you can help promote a safe Columbia River. It seeks to answer some of the most pressing questions:

  • Is Hanford nuclear waste polluting the Columbia River?
  • What are the human health impacts?
  • Why is the cleanup taking so long, and when will it be done?
  • How did Washington end up with the nation’s most polluted site?
  • What can we do about it and how can I get involved?

Hanford Environmental Report (2015)Hanford Environmental Report - cover image

This supplemental booklet to the Hanford & the River book includes updated versions of the following fact sheets:

  • What’s Underground at Hanford?
  • What’s in Your River?
  • What’s in Your Fish?



Articles & Blog Posts

Riverkeeper Attends the Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Blog post – Jan 29, 2016

Take Action for Hanford Cleanup: Major Delays Proposed for Hanford Cleanup
Blog Post – Nov 25, 2015

Dr Terrill, Hanford cleanup advocate, just completed a 225-mile peace walk from Portland to Hanford
Blog Post – Oct 30, 2015

New Tool Gives Citizen Scientists and Inside Look at Hanford’s Waste
River Currents Newsletter, 2015 Issue 3

Riverkeeper Member Walks from Portland to Hanford to Raise Awareness about Nuclear Weapons Legacy
Blog Post – Sept 30, 2015

Hanford Reach Paddle Trip 2015 Photos
Facebook Photo Album – July 28, 2015

The Hanford Reach National Monument: A Paradox In Nature
River Currents Newsletter, 2015 Issue 2

Protect Our River From Nuclear Waste: Take Action Today – Public Service Announcements
Blog Post – June 24, 2015

Attention Hanford Citizen Scientists
Blog Post – May 29, 2015

Hanford Cleanup, 2014 in Review: A Challenging Year for the Department of Energy
River Currents Newsletter, 2015 Issue 1

What’s Underground at Hanford
River Currents Newsletter, Winter 2014

Riverkeeper Challenges Pollution Permit
Blog Post – November 25, 2014

Radioactive Waste Cleanup Deadlines at Hanford
Blog Post – October 22, 2014

Hanford Cleanup Critique
Blog Post – August 13, 2014

Hanford Radiation and Leaking LNG Tanks: A Day in the Life of a Riverkeeper
River Currents Newsletter, Summer 2014

Riverkeeper and Allies Demand Prompt Action on a Generations-Long Problem
Blog Post – April 18, 2014

What’s in the Hanford Reach
River Currents Newsletter, Spring 2014

State Orders Action from Energy on Leaking Double-Shell Tank at Hanford
Blog Post – March 25, 2014

Hanford Cleanup Plans Fall Short
Blog Post – December 2013

One Leaking Tank is Too Many
Blog Post – November 2013

Hundreds Call for More Aggressive Hanford Cleanup
Blog Post – October 2013

New Radioactive Leaks from Hanford Tanks: Do We Have a Backup Plan?
River Currents Newsletter, Winter 2013

Fall Chinook Salmon Reach Hanford in Record Numbers
River Currents Newsletter, Fall 2013

A storybook of kayaking, canoeing, and paddling the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River
Blog Post – September 2013

Meet a Hanford Watchdog
River Currents Newsletter, Summer 2013

Hanford’s Leaking Tanks Infographic
River Currents Newsletter, Spring 2013

Nuclear Power Proposed for Nuclear Clean-Up at Hanford
Blog post – August 2012

Agencies Host Hanford River Corridor Workshops
Blog post – June 2012

Developing a Pipeline While Leaving Uranium in Soil
Blog post – March 2012

Energy Plans to Leave Plutonium in the Soil & Limit River Cleanup
Blog post – January 2012



Fact Sheets

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Strontium in the Columbia River: Not on Our Watch!

Learn about Department of Energy’s latest proposal to clean up radioactive and toxic chemical waste near the Columbia River. (June 2014)

State of the Site Issue Paper 2014

The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and WA’s Department of  Ecology held a series of town hall meetings to discuss the current cleanup progress at Hanford. (April 2014)

Uranium in the Columbia River: Not on Our Watch!

Learn about the plan that decides how much and how long uranium and other dangerous pollutants will threaten the Columbia River. (August 2013)

Private Industry on Hanford Land

On May 31, 2011, the Tri-City Development Council, in cooperation with the City of Richland, Benton County, and the Port of Benton, requested roughly 1,641 acres of the Hanford Site. (May 2013)

Blurred Vision

A critique of the Department of Energy’s 2015 Vision which misleads the public and decision makers about the extent of cleanup in the River Corridor. (January 2013)

Hanford Site Wide Dangerous Waste Permit

Ecology’s “Site-Wide Dangerous Waste Permit” is the state of Washington’s primary tool for establishing the basic rules for clean-up of toxic waste at Hanford. (May 2012)

Salmon + Nuclear Waste

Discover how the pollution from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation threatens salmon populations. (May 2011)



Comment Letters

Tri-Party Agreement Proposed Cleanup Delays are Unacceptable

The U.S. Department of Energy, WA State Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are proposing changes to the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA), the document that lays out the deadlines for the cleanup effort at Hanford. These TPA changes are substantial and include delaying cleanup plans of the Central Plateau for more than a decade in some cases. Riverkeeper believes these delays are unacceptable. (February 2016)

Hanford Risk Review Report Understates the Risk to the Environment and to Human Health

The U.S. Department of Energy (Energy) commissioned the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP) to complete “a comprehensive review” of the Hanford site for the “purpose of developing a summary level catalog and classification of risks and impacts to human health and resources.” Unfortunately, the report often strays from its core purpose and advocates for more limited cleanup of Hanford’s contamination. Riverkeeper is concerned that this report severely understates some risks, misrepresents others, and presents an analysis that may be used to justify a less rigorous cleanup at Hanford. (October 2015)

Proposed Plan Is Not Protective of the Columbia River and Human Health (I00-F/IU Cleanup Plan)

Riverkeeper has significant concerns about the U.S. Department of Energy’s most recent proposed cleanup plan for over 2500 acres of polluted groundwater and soil near the Columbia River. Energy’s plan relies heavily on monitored natural attenuation (a wait-and-see approach) and uses institutional controls (signs and fences to limit area access) to address radioactive and toxic pollution. Not only will this plan leave large amounts of hazardous waste in soil and groundwater for decades, but it could also set a precedent for how Energy approaches important decisions for cleanup at Hanford in the future. This plan is not protective of the Columbia River, human health and the environment. (August 2014)

Don’t Shortchange Hanford’s Groundwater

Despite the need to intercept radioactive and chemical waste in the groundwater before it reaches the Columbia River, Energy’s proposed 2014 and 2015 budget shortchanges Hanford’s critical groundwater treatment program. The groundwater program will receive only half of the funds necessary to reach cleanup milestones. Just 6 percent of the proposed Hanford budget of $2.2 billion is targeted toward groundwater cleanup. (June 2013)

Tri-Party Agreement Proposed Changes

Riverkeeper remains concerned that the changes to the Tri-Party Agreement will prompt delays in cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Site, specifically the River Corridor and that the Department of Energy is failing to adequately fund necessary cleanup activities. (January 2013)

Natural Resource Damage Injury Assessment Plan

Imagine spending a day exploring Hanford’s unique landscapes, including the Hanford Dunes, viewing the wildlife of Hanford’s undisturbed shrub-steppe habitat, and fishing in the free-flowing Hanford Reach. Seventy years of nuclear contamination have scarred Hanford and damaged many of these recreational opportunities and natural resources. But now, a group of federal, state and tribal representatives – the Hanford Trustees – are taking the first steps towards restoration. Let the Trustees know that recreation is an important resource that you want to see restored at Hanford. (January 2012)

Miscellaneous Streams Permit

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is re-issuing a permit that allows the U.S. Department of Energy (Energy) to dump millions of gallons of maintenance and construction wastewater, cooling water, condensate, and industrial stormwater onto the ground at Hanford on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this permit—called the “Miscellaneous Streams Permit”—may not adequately protect the Columbia River and Hanford’s already-contaminated groundwater. (January 2013)



Other Resources

Learn more about Hanford’s nuclear legacy, the Department of Energy’s responsibility to remove the contamination and what other government agencies and nonprofits are doing to protect northwest communities and the Columbia River from contamination.

Hanford Challenge

Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council

Heart of the America Northwest

Oregon Department of Nuclear Safety

Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Tri-City Herald: Hanford News

Tri-Party Agreement

U.S. Department of Energy – Hanford

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Hanford

Washington State Department of Ecology

Voices of the Manhattan Project

CERCLA – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act