The following op-ed was written by GAP Nuclear Oversight Director Tom Carpenter.
Late last month, the U.S. Department of Energy, along with the EPA and Washington state, hosted the annual "State of the Site" meeting on Hanford, in Seattle.
To those of us who are frequent attendees at such events, this one bore a depressing similarity to many of the past meetings called for a similar purpose -- to review the state of the Hanford nuclear site's efforts to clean up the largest and most expensive toxic mess in the United States.
Hanford opened in 1942 to produce, on an industrial scale, the plutonium used in the first nuclear explosion in the Nevada desert in 1945 -- followed shortly by the use of the plutonium bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.
More than 40 years later, Hanford had opened and closed nine nuclear production reactors, five plutonium reprocessing facilities and numerous laboratory and support facilities, all in support of the Cold War mission to create America's nuclear arsenal.