The Hanford Site and its cleanup contractors are set to unveil a public self-guided virtual tour platform of the 580-square-mile site on Jan. 14. Members of the public can access the tour from the top banner of the Hanford webpage. The Savannah River Site (SRS) virtual tour video is available here.
In the past, Hanford offered limited in-person public tours in the spring and summer months as a way to engage the public in the Hanford cleanup mission. Since public tours are currently on hold, site leadership came up with the idea of a virtual tour with the intent of keeping the public involved in cleanup progress while upholding COVID-19 protocols.
While on the virtual tour, participants can view up to 20 Hanford locations with 360-degree camera views, accompanied by descriptions to provide context of the various projects.
“Hanford cleanup is one of the great public works of our time. We are excited to have the tools to expand public awareness and appreciation of our important work with the virtual tour,” said Brian Vance, the EM manager of the Hanford Site. “Some of the locations featured on the virtual tour would not have otherwise been accessible to visitors due to the nature of our work. By utilizing technology, the virtual tour provides a superior experience and promotes public engagement.”
Some of the tour stops include Hanford’s 324 Building, the 200 West Groundwater Treatment Project, and various structures associated with Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste program, including the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant and tank farms.
Hanford’s virtual tour website is designed to be self-guided and will have the potential to reach an unlimited audience
SRS public tours are usually booked months in advance, and the SRS Tour Program typically provides free guided bus tours of the 310-square-mile site to approximately 2,000 people each year. But with social distancing limiting tour bus group sizes, DOE decided to develop the virtual approach.
Based on a driving tour of SRS, the virtual ride incorporates historical footage of the site’s construction along with glimpses inside many production facilities and environmental cleanup efforts, plus scenes from the diverse work at the Savannah River National and Savannah River Ecology laboratories.
“We’ve seen so much of our world change and adapt to this pandemic, so this is an innovative way for us to continue telling our story,” DOE Savannah River Operations Manager Mike Budney said. “As SRS celebrates 70 years of protecting our nation, this virtual tour gives our surrounding communities a new window into our history, our current missions, and our talented workforce.”
Other videos on SRS operations, history, and more can be found at the SRS YouTube Channel.
Click here for SRS Tour Program updates.