We left the city of Richland,Washington, on the desert road leading to the Hanford LIGO site to spend two days visiting the now-famous gravitational wave detector observatory. When my wife, Patricia, and I left our hotel, the sky was overcast with dark-gray clouds. There was a chilly, damp wind, and we had taken our coats to shield us from a typical March day in eastern Washington. The road to the site was straight, and we looked out over the unobstructed landscape covered with sagebrush and tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, all ringed by purple mountains in the distance. Hanford was one of the sites in the Manhattan Project, which produced the nuclear bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. We met very little traffic on our way, other than trucks leaving the infamous reactor site left by the Manhattan Project. The legacy of that project, the largest nuclear waste site in the United States, has contaminated the groundwater underneath 61 square miles of the site, and it threatens the headwaters of the Columbia River....
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