YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation have finished the process of closing and "cocooning" the longest-running of nine nuclear reactors built there for the U.S. atomic weapons program.
N Reactor was the only dual-purpose reactor in the U.S., producing both plutonium for nuclear weapons and steam for electricity. At its peak, the 860-megawatt reactor was producing enough power for 650,000 homes.
Some 37,000 people traveled to Hanford on Sept. 26, 1963 to see President John F. Kennedy dedicate the reactor, which operated until 1987.
The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Nine reactors were ultimately built there for the nuclear weapons program. One is now a National Historic Landmark, and so far six have been cocooned.