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Radar visual aircraft UFO encounter near Hanford nuclear plant, December 10, 1952 :

Here is my documentation of one of several UFO observations at Hanford AEC nuclear plant. Sightings started there as early as 1945 and were investigated by the US Air Force.

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, head of Project Blue Book, USAF's UFO investigation:

"On the night of December 10, 1952, near another atomic installation, the Hanford plant in Washington, the pilot and radar observer of a patrolling F-94 spotted a light while flying at 26,000 feet. The crew called their ground control station and were told that no planes were known to be in the area. They closed on the object and saw a large, round, white "thing" with a dim reddish light corning from two "windows." They lost visual contact but got a radar lock-on. They reported that when they attempted to close on it again it would reverse direction and dive away. Several times the plane altered course itself because collision seemed imminent."

"In each of these instances, as well as in the case narrated next, the sources of the stories were trained airmen with excellent reputations. They were sincerely baffled by what they had seen. They had no conceivable motive for falsifying or "dressing up" their reports."

Summary of the events:

On December 10, 1952, at 19:20, the pilot and radar observer of a patrolling F-94 from Moses AFB spotted a light over Hanford's Atomic Energy Commission's nuclear plant, near Richland, Washington, while flying at 26,000 feet. They contacted the ground control station, which reported that they knew of no planes in the area, and that their ground radar saw nothing. They closed in on the object, which was large, white, and round, and which featured dim reddish light coming from two "windows." They lost visual contact, then got a lock-on from their ARC-33 airborne radar. As they attempted to close in, the object reversed direction and dove away. They attempted several more times to approach the light and had to alter course to avoid a collision that seemed imminent. The position of the encounter was 118:41:40 West, 47:19:20 North.

Moses Lake AFB was rename Larson Air Force Base In May 1950. Reopened as a permanent installation in November 1948, under the Air Defense Command, F-82's, F-94 Star Fires, and finally F-86 Sabre jets patrolled the Pacific Northwest with the primary mission of protecting the vital Hanford atomic works Grand Coulee Dam, and other strategic points against possible enemy attack.

Hanford AEC nuclear plant:

The Hanford nuclear plant was built as early as 1943 at a cost of Cost: $5,100,000 and it started plutonium separation on January 20, 1945. The critical state in the 2nd pile was achieved in December 1944, and a critical state in the 3rd pile in 1945. Interestingly, a Fugo balloon from Japan cut the power supply of a Hanford Pile on 1.2.1945. The 2nd nuclear pile in Hanford was the reactor that produced the plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb, the second to be dropped on Japan, August 9, 1945.

Air Intelligence report 100-203-79 of 1952 indicates:

"In addition, sightings of flying objects have been made near Oak Ridge, Tenn., Las Cruces, N.M., and in the general area of the Hanford Works in Oregon."

USAF was quite conscious that UFOs were often seen and detected over nuclear plants. (Oak Ridge provided uranium isotopes for the Hiroshima bomb.)


See also UFO or balloon incident at Hanford, July 1945.

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This page was last updated on January 5, 2002.