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The most challenging of Hanford’s remediation decisions will be made and executed in the coming years. The process of assessing, recommending and implementing paths forward on decisions such as tank closure, deep vadose zone (deep soil between surface and groundwater) remediation, river corridor and groundwater cleanup will be inherited by younger generations. The challenge, as remediation progresses, and time passes, is how to pass along responsibility for and commitment to cleaning up Hanford to generations who have never heard of Hanford, have not lived through the Cold War, and do not remember Hanford’s production days.
Currently there are very few young adults (defined as under 40 for the purposes of this project) actively engaged in public discourse on Hanford. We are at a critical juncture where site managers, workers, concerned regional stakeholders and others are ageing and retiring. To ensure continuity over the next 75 years, it is critical that a younger demographic become engaged, stay engaged, and continue recruiting the next generation to be involved with the issues of Hanford’s remediation.
Hanford Challenge is launching Inheriting Hanford, a project focused on encouraging the participation of young people through a mentoring approach with involved regional stakeholders, agencies, and contractor personnel. Inheriting Hanford will develop inter-generational relationships to enable a transfer of wisdom and understanding from stakeholders with years of experience to those who will be inheriting the site’s challenges. We will be working with mentors and interested young people, facilitating information gathering and relationship building to prepare the heirs of this complex and nuanced nuclear site to become skilled and knowledgeable participants in decision-making at Hanford.
Thanks everyone who participated in interviews and filled out our survey on mentorship best practice. We compiled your answers into two documents:
Hanford Challenge collaborated with Danny Noonan from WA Physicians for Social Responsibility to create a Hanford 101 Presentation packet for an Anthropology class at the University of Washington, taught by Holly Barker. Looking for a teaching tool, check out our packet. Contact Liz Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or a higher resolution copy.
Inheriting Hanford is made possible through the support of the New Mexico Community Foundation and Washington Foundation for the Environment.