The people who did the dirty work of making early atomic bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.
In 1943, the US government needed a reliable center for processing the Manhattan Project's nuclear material. Officials chose the 568-acre Hanford site in the deserts of Washington State to house nine nuclear reactors and 143 single-walled, underground waste tanks. Fast-forward 68 years and the US government is still working at Hanford — not as a research facility, but as one of the country's most polluted Superfund sites.