TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Glenn Seaborg with other UC Berkeley scientists synthesize Plutonium-239 through the bombardment of uranium.
December 7th, 1941
Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.
U.S. Corps of Engineers assigned to head the Manhattan Project.
U.S. Government selects Hanford Site for plutonium production facility.
DuPont selected as Hanford's primary contractor.
Over 1,500 residents in the 600 square-mile Hanford site are ordered to evacuate within 30 days.
Construction of Hanford Engineer Works (HEW) begins.
Fuel manufacturing begins in 313 Building.
Experimental canning operations start in 313 Building.
Startup of B Reactor, the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor.
Startup of D Reactor and T Plant. Major air and ground releases begin.
Installation of 64 underground, single-shell waste tanks begins.
Startup of F Reactor. Startup of B Plant. Construction of HEW complete.
Germany surrenders. Trinity Test at Alamogordo, NM.
Little Boy is dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th. Fat Man is dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th. Japan surrenders .
Churchill delivers Iron Curtain speech.
Atomic Energy Act passed. Hanford becomes a cilivilian operation. Manhattan Project ends.
General Electric becomes primary site contractor at Hanford.
Installation of 42 underground, single-shell waste tanks begins. Atomic Energy Commission takes charge former Manhattan Project Sites.
Truman Doctrine and Cold War ensues. $350 million site expansion at Hanford follows.
Filters used for the first time on separation stacks.
Waste pond dike breaks releasing 28 pounds of uranium into Columbia River.
Startup of C Plant (REDOX). Plutonium Finishing Plant (Z Plant) is completed.
Soviet Union detonates its first atomic bomb. Startup of H Reactor.
The Green Run experiment releases 7,780 curies of iodine-131, 20,000 curies of xenon-133 into the atmosphere.
Installation of 18 underground, single-shell waste tanks begins.
Startup of DR Reactor.
Atmospheric atomic bomb testing at Nevada Test Site begins.
Camp Hanford established.
Iodine filters at Hanford processing plant fail. HEDR estimates 34,360 curies of radioiodine released in 1951 alone.
Startup of S Plant (REDOX). Startup of U Plant to recover uranium from T and B Plants. Experimental Animal Farm and Aquatic Biology Laboratory established.
Startup of Z Plant. Startup of C Reactor.
Installation of 21 underground, single-shell waste tanks begins.
Korean War Armistice signed. Nearly 250 curies of ruthenium-103 and 106 are released due to processing mishaps.
Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allows nuclear weapons facilities to operate without independent oversight.
Installation of Nike missile sites.
300 curies of ruthenium-106 released from REDOX Plant. 300 curies of ruthenium-106 released from REDOX Plant.
Startup of KW and KE Reactors—one of which experiences a partial fuel melt-down at startup.
Shutdown of B Plant. Startup of A Plant (PUREX).
Shutdown of T Plant.
Soviets launch Sputnik.
Shutdown of U Plant.
Shutdown of Nike missile sites. Shutdown of Camp Hanford.
Accident at Plutonium Finishing Plant releases 1,200 curies of radioactive gasses.
Cuban missile crisis.
President Kennedy attends ground-breaking for N Reactor. Installation of four underground, single-shell storage tanks.
Limited Test Ban Treaty outlawing atmospheric, underwater, and outerspace nuclear tests.
Startup of N Reactor.
Startup of Plutonium Reclamation Facility.
Shutdown of DR Reactor.
Hanford labs renamed Pacific Northwest Laboratory by Battelle.
Shutdown of H and F Reactor. Hanford Environmental Health Foundation formed.
Douglas-United assumes responsibility for reactors and fuels.
ISOCHEM assumes responsibility for chemical processing and plutonium finishing.
Shutdown of D Reactor.
Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) becomes primary operator and assumes chemical processing.
Shutdown of S Plant (REDOX).
Installation of 28 underground, double-shell storage tanks.
Shutdown of B Reactor.
Shutdown of C Reactor.
Shutdown of KW Reactor.
Westinghouse Hanford Co. contracts to build and operate Fast Flux Test Facility.
Shutdown of KE Reactor.
Seattle Post Intelligencer reports billions of gallons of low-level wastes were discharged into ground for 30 years at Hanford.
Hanford officials publically announce a 115,000 gallon leak in tank 106-T.
President Ford abolishes AEC renaming it Energy Research and Development Administration.
Hanford Reservation renamed Hanford Site. Rockwell Hanford assumes operations.
March 28th, 1979
Three Mile Island power plant partial core meltdown releases 15 to 24 curies of iodine-131.
Startup of Fast Flux Test Facility.
Spokane Unitarian minister, Bill Houff, delivers "Silent Holocaust" sermon, leads to formation of HEAL.
USDOE temporarily shuts down PUREX plant. Hanford becomes candidate for a nuclear waste repository.
Spokane-Spokesman Review publishes first article on Hanford downwinders.
Washington State Nuclear Waste Board calls for an independent study of Hanford downwinders.
HEAL and other groups file Freedom of Information Act request for Hanford documents.
USDOE releases 19,000 pages of formally classified historical Hanford documents.
Chernobyl accident releases 40 to 50 million curies of iodine-131 into the atmosphere. Hanford review panel recommends dose reconstruction (HEDR) and epidemiological study of thyroid disease study.
Shutdown of N Reactor.
Hanford removed from high-level nuclear repository list.
Plutonium production ends at Hanford. Shutdown of A Plant (PUREX).
Congress mandates funds for Hanford Thyroid Disease Study (HDTS). USDOE, EPA, and Washington State Department of Ecology sign Hanford cleanup agreement.
Cold War ends.
Hanford officials reveals tank explosion threat known since 1979.
Preliminary HEDR results announced.
Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN) funded by congress.
Government investigators and press corroborate harassment of Hanford whistleblowers.
HEDR announces 70 percent increase in iodine-131 releases than previously estimated.
Tri-Party Agreement calls for 99 percent of high-level waste to be vitrified.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center completes pilot phase of HTDS. Federal Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments releases final report.
Hanford Health Information Archives opens. Fluor Daniel and five other companies replace Westinghouse as contractors.
USDOE launches Human Radiation Experiments information Web site.
National Cancer Institute announces results from iodine-131 fallout study from Nevada Test Site bomb tests.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health finds multiple myeloma among USDOE workers.
First batch of irradiated fuel moved from water-filled K Basins to dry storage.
9/11 attack. Work begins on vitrification plant.
Secretary of Energy orders Fast Flux Test Facility to be shutdown.
Please note that the timeline was created for the original Safe As Mother's Milk project that was launched in 2003. An updated timeline noting events from 2001-2012 will be updated in future revisions.