In the drive to make the United States self-sufficient in energy several towns in the state of Washington are experiencing boom periods.
GV Hanford motorway with traffic
GV people disembarking from light aircraft
GV new buildings being erected
SV man at furnace in factory (3 shots)
GV dome shaped nuclear reactor
GV work being carried out inside dome (4 shots)
GV reactor site (3 shots)
GV and CU workmen on road
SV and GV coal on ground and loader for coal
CU & GV INTERIOR research centre
Experimental fish ponds
AVs Nuclear plant site (2 shots)
"It's 4.30 p.m. at Hanford and this is the homeward rush to Richland, 20 miles away. The traffic here, the travel, the commerce and construction all reflect the U.S.
Government's new push to make the country energy independent. Not since the war years of the 1940s have there been so many people on this stretch of desert in south central Washington. In the 40s it was to produce plutonium, the fuel for the atom bomb. Today it is to tame the atom for peace.
The most energetic and costly project at Hanford is this one. A 540 million dollar fast flux test facility being built under contract by Westinghouse.
It is a reactor that tests fuels and cleaning systems for breeder reactors.
Reactors that can increase the speed of nuclear vision from 10,000 miles an hours to 30 million miles an hour. That translates into energy levels a million times greater than those now produced by existing nuclear power plants. Development of breeder reactors could make the nation's limited supply of uranium almost unlimited because breeder reactors produce more nuclear fuel than they consume. But breeder reactors for commercial power plants are still 10 to 15 years away, too far away, says the government to meet short range energy needs of the country.
So there is also research at Hanford on more conventional sources of energy. Coal is the country's most abundant fuel It is could be burned efficiently without hazard to health coal could provide enough electric power for the nation's cities for the next 50 years.
In the search for energy nothing is considered too far out or beyond belief in Hanford. Scientists are looking for possible power in moon rocks, unknown sources of energy in seawater or maybe special ions in the ionosphere. The U.S. energy research and development administration has already invested two billion dollars in Hanford. It is spending another 308 million dollars a year giving jobs to over 15,000 people. It has made the tri cities of Richland, Hanford and Pennywick the fastest growing area in the state with a per capita income 2000 dollars a year more than any other area in the state. The government's gamble in energy research has been paying off in the tri cities. Congress is betting it will eventually pay off for the country"
Although the area which encompasses Hanford appears to be experiencing a boom period, the situation is not the same around the U.S. The unclear power industry there, perhaps the largest in the wold, is beset by rising costs and growing public concern about safety. The utilities that build nuclear reactors have been hard hit by recession and inflation while interest rates have soared. Thus many power plants have been delayed or cancelled with nuclear plant projects suffering the most.
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Background: In the drive to make the United States self-sufficient in energy several towns in the state of Washington are experiencing boom periods. The nuclear power centre in Hanford is one of the country's leaders in energy experimentation. Larry Kelly reports.