Interior’s Salazar makes economic pitch for Hanford B reactor park

Sep 19, 2011

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says turning a historic piece of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation into a National Park would be good for the Northwest economy. He made the comment during a tour of Eastern Washington this weekend.

Salazar toured Hanford’s B Reactor. Now retired, it was the first commercial-scale nuclear reactor in the world. The Interior Department has recommended that the B Reactor become a National Park along with two other Manhattan Project sites in other states. Washington Congressman Doc Hastings and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell are drafting legislation to do just that. Salazar says more public access to the site would draw tourists to the Tri-Cities.

“All this is really about jobs. When you think about a national park potentially being designated here, it means it will bring heads to the beds here to this county and community,” Salazar said.

Salazar also flew over the Yakima River Basin and discussed efforts to bolster salmon runs and store enough water for municipalities and agriculture.

Copyright 2011 Northwest Public Radio