During the next few years, over 500 buildings were built on the site, including several nuclear reactors. By July of 1945, the main three reactors had produced enough plutonium to test an atomic bomb, and helped to produce the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in August of 1945.
It wasn’t until after Japan surrendered that the residents at Hanford were told what was being created at Hanford. The area, finally dubbed Richland, kept on going with atomic energy research, production of plutonium, and various uses for nuclear physics.
Since the late 1980’s stoppage of plutonium production, the role of the Hanford Project morphed into a full environmental cleanup project, which will last many decades.
The author, Tim Mulligan, was born and raised in Richland. Nearly everyone he knew worked at some point at the nuclear reactor, including himself during high school. Over the years, thousands of residents have settled lawsuits for health problems due to the release of toxic waste. Though Richland is now also known for its location on the beautiful Columbia River, and the many glorious golf courses, Pickle Ball courts, wineries, and of course it’s pride and glory, “spudnuts,” the area is shrouded in mystery and danger from the toxic cleanup at the Hanford Site. This play chronicles one famiy’s experience moving to Richland, and living near a mysterious “witch”, with much horror to ensue. But is she a witch…or just another one of the thousands plagued with health issues from living in the backyard of what has been declared “the most toxic place in the Western Hemisphere”.
Welcome to Witchland.