Oregon Department of Energy Experts to Talk Hanford Cleanup at OMSI Science Pub on August 2


Jennifer Kalez, 503-480-9239
Rachel Wray, 503-689-0294

SALEM — The Hanford Nuclear Site, from the early days of the Manhattan Project to today’s ongoing environmental cleanup, will be the topic of the OMSI Science Pub in Portland on August 2. Ken Niles and Jeff Burright, nuclear experts from the Oregon Department of Energy, are the featured speakers.

Niles and Burright will kick off the Science Pub at 7 p.m. at the McMenamins Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan in Portland.

Ken Niles, ODOE’s Assistant Director for Nuclear Safety, has nearly 30 years of experience with the Hanford cleanup. In addition to managing Oregon’s involvement in the cleanup at Hanford, he also oversees the safe transport of radioactive materials through the state and ensures Oregon is prepared in the event of a nuclear emergency. Jeff Burright joined ODOE in 2017, and has technical expertise in complex remediation projects like Hanford. His work focuses on the many challenges surrounding the safe retrieval and treatment of high-level radioactive tank waste.

“Oregon has a tremendous stake in ensuring the safe and timely cleanup of Hanford,” said Niles. Hanford sits along the Columbia River just 35 miles north of Oregon’s border, and the river flows through Hanford and continues past prime Oregon farmlands and fisheries. “Radioactive and chemical contamination could pose a threat to the river, wildlife, and communities downriver,” continued Niles, “so we work with federal and state partners to ensure cleanup is protective of the Columbia.”


At OMSI’s Science Pub on Thursday, Niles and Burright will talk Manhattan Project history, Hanford cleanup efforts to date, and why cleanup is expected to last until the 2070s – or even later. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a suggested $5 cover charge. You can also buy guaranteed tickets in advance online. McMenamins food and beverages are available for purchase throughout the event.

Learn more about Oregon’s role in the Hanford cleanup on our website.