70 years later, Hanford no longer a mystery - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

70 years later, Hanford no longer a mystery

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NEAR RICHLAND, Wash. - This week marks the 70th anniversary of the Manhattan Project and what a difference seven decades can make.

From top secret to a top tourist site, Hanford has made some serious strides over the year. 

When the small townships of White Bluffs and Hanford were told to leave and tens of thousands of workers began building the sites, the project was a mystery. Now, tour dates open up every March and within hours, 2,500 seats are filled with requests from all over the country.

"A lot of the questions we had today were about the history and back in the 1940's and what things were like back then," said Department of Energy Public Affairs Specialist Rich Buel. "So a lot of people are very aware of the history and the significance of the date and its been a fun week for us."

"I thoroughly enjoyed it," said tourist Pat Van Pelt. "I think everybody should come out and see what's going on, how this all works. I'm really impressed. See where all the money is going."

When Plutonium production was just beginning at the Hanford site, the best scientific minds in the world were here. Now, 70 years later it's the same scenario. Brilliant minds are working together to clean up the hazardous waste left behind.