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The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is located on 360,000 acres of land in southeastern Washington near the farming community of Richland. (Actually, the area is commonly referred to as the Tri-Cities to describe the three townships that are in close proximity to each other; Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick.)
Hanford was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project and was constructed by the US Department of Energy and the DuPont Corporation. Hanford housed the world's first full size nuclear reactor, known as B Reactor. Seven more reactors at the site would soon follow and eventually a ninth was built.
Nuclear waste that was not ruled highly radioactive was simply dumped into the earth. It is estimated that more than 440 billion gallons of waste was discarded into the soil. These practices continued from 1944 until the last of the original eight reactors was shut down in 1971. The waste that was considered highly radioactive is stored in underground tanks.