CONTAMINATED: government fallout
Contaminated is a layered exploration of the tens of thousands affected by radiation illnesses and the secrets kept at the Hanford Nuclear site. Hanford produced plutonium for the first nuclear bombs used during WWII. In 1942 my Grandfather arrived on the land as a surveyor and started working for the U.S. Government's Manhattan Project. Contaminated is what has happened to the people and the land in southeastern Washington State. This is where I was born. This is where my family lives.
An undertaking of this magnitude had never been attempted, and the records kept on employees' safety years later were deemed insufficient. The U.S. Department of Labor now has the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, which began in October of 2000. This Act now pays out employees and survivors of a family with specific illnesses related to working at the Hanford site.
My family, thousands of other employees, locals, and the land have all been affected. In the 1990s, after the Cold War, the Hanford reactors were decommissioned and left behind 53 million gallons of high-level complicated nuclear and mixed dangerous waste. To this day, the Hanford Site contains two-thirds of the United States' radioactive waste - and is the most extensive environmental cleanup.
Contaminated consists of my experience growing up in this highly charged and secretive town and its impact on the people and land. Each unique piece is hand built from family and friends' stories, pictures, and declassified documents.