Washington Law Review


In the state of Washington, ground was broken on April 6, 1943, for the construction of the Hanford Engineer Works. The Hanford plant was to produce plutonium, the component of one type of atom bomb. Smyth reported in the summer of 1945 that "the piles are operating at designed power, producing plutonium, and heating the Columbia River." In a footnote of particular interest today, Smyth added: "The actual rise in temperature is so tiny that no effect on fish life could be expected." During the years since World War II increasing emphasis has been placed upon development of peacetime uses for atomic energy and, especially, for electric power. The state of Washington, in part because of the enormous Hanford Engineer Work installations, has been particularly concerned with these matters and sometimes has been identified as the "Nuclear Progress State."

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