Riverkeeper hosts speaker on Hanford in White Salmon

Columbia Riverkeeper is hosting a free event Sunday in White Salmon featuring speaker Dr. Ceiridwen Terrill, a Concordia University professor who will be walking 225 miles from Portland to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in an effort to raise awareness about the history and cleanup of the nuclear site on the Washington side of the Columbia River.

The event, held Sunday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the White Salmon Public Library, will be a chance to meet Terrill on her journey and hear her personal connection to Hanford which prompted her to advocate for more public oversight on Hanford cleanup.

Riverkeeper will also be screening their latest short film, “Hanford: A Race Against Time.”

Abigail Cermak, Hanford coordinator for Columbia Riverkeeper, said the stop on Terill’s journey will be an important regional event for communities in the Gorge, including Hood River and White Salmon.

Earlier this year, Terrill traveled to Japan for commemoration ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There she participated in a pilgrimage to the Peace Park that began at Urakami Cathedral near the Nagasaki bomb site. The Northwest’s nuclear neighbor, the Hanford site on the Columbia River near Richland, Wash., produced plutonium that fueled the “Fat Man” bomb used on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945, Riverkeeper said.

“I was planning to go to Japan for a while. I needed to see the site where Fat Man (nuclear bomb) exploded. I wanted to know what Japanese survivors think about the bombing… how their feelings have changed over the years. Do they hold resentment?” said Ceiridwen.

Terrill’s inspiration to travel to Japan stemmed from her own family’s loss related to the atomic bomb. Her experience and the stories she heard in Japan inspired her to raise awareness about the United States’ atomic legacy.

“Having had a family that was essentially destroyed by Hanford, it was closing the loop by going to Japan and seeing these people who were so changed by the bomb that Hanford produced,” she said.

In an effort to share these and other stories, Terrill plans to walk from Portland to Hanford, from Oct. 9 to 18, to celebrate peace and help others learn about Hanford. Much of her route will be along the Columbia River and anyone is welcome to join her for all or part of her walk.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. Sunday at White Salmon’s library at 77 N.E. Wauna Ave. Free pizza will be available for the first 20 attendees, and other snacks and drinks will be provided.

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