Downwind-Hanford & Cancer in the Pacific Northwest

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The Hanford Nuclear Facility had its origins during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project, the United States effort to build an atomic bomb. The reactors at this isolated site in south central Washington state were built to produce plutonium for two of the first three atomic bombs. The success of the project at Hanford came with a price, though. Radioactive gases blew from the reactor stacks and water containing radioactive materials flowed back into the Columbia River after cooling the reactor cores and seeped from various sources into the Hanford soils. The result for many "downwinders" has been a lifetime of radiation related health issues. This lesson explores the background of the Hanford project and the resulting health problems.

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