Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

Cited: America’s Chernobyl (1 of 2)

We’re on break for two weeks. But we thought this was a good opportunity to celebrate our predecessor show, Cited Podcast.  America’s Chernobyl is our favourite episode. Here’s part #1.


Richland, Washington is a company town that sprang up almost overnight in the desert of South Eastern Washington. Its employer is the federal government, and its product is plutonium. The Hanford nuclear site was one of the Manhattan Project sites, and it made the plutonium for the bomb that devastated Nagasaki. Here, the official history is one of scientific achievement, comfortable houses, and good-paying jobs. But it doesn’t include the story of what happened after the bomb was dropped — neither in Japan, nor right there in Washington State. On part one of our two-part season finale, we tell the largely-forgotten story of the most toxic place in America.


You can also find related articles on our website, Including articles by our research assistant, Nicole Yakashiro, including: a detailed Hanford timeline, as well as the colonial history of the Hanford site. Plus, a transcript.


This is the season finale of Cited’s final season. If you’ve never listened to Cited, you should check it out. Here are some of its best:


We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on Patreon subscribers usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

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To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email or tweet Gordon directly.


This episode was produced Gordon Katic and Polly Leger. With editing support from Acey Rowe. Nicole Yakashiro was our research assistant, and Aurora Tejeida was our fact-checker.

Our theme song and original music is by our composer, Mike BarberDakota Koop is our graphic designer. Our production manager is David Tobiasz, and executive producers are Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn.

We’d like to thank historians Sarah Fox, author of “Downwind: A People’s History of the Nuclear West,” as well as Kate Brown, author of “Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters.” Check those out, and also check out Michael D’Antonio’s “Atomic Harvest: Hanford and the Lethal Toll of America’s Nuclear Arsenal.” These books were indispensable to us. You can find links to those and others things at But don’t read anything until you hear next week’s episode, because you might read some spoilers.

Thanks to the many others we talked to along the way– including historians Linda M. Richards and Robert Franklin. As well as, Pat Hoover, Trisha Pritikin, Tom Carpenter, John Fox, and Maynard Plahuta.

This episode was funded in part by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. It’s part of a larger project on the politics of historical commemoration. Professor Eagle Glassheim at the University of British Columbia is the academic lead on that project.

Cited is produced out of the Centre of Ethics at the University of Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. Cited is also produced out of the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia — that’s on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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