Yakima Nation member who fought for Hanford cleanup dies

TOPPENISH, Wash. (AP) — A member of the Yakama Nation who fought for cleanup of Hanford Nuclear Reservation land used by his tribe for centuries has died.

Russell Jim died Saturday morning at age 82.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that Jim was instrumental in giving Native Americans a voice on nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford.

After devising his tribe’s Environmental Restoration and Waste Management program, he spent 37 years managing it. Among his successes was fighting to prevent Hanford from becoming the nation’s repository for high level radioactive waste.

Jim retired last year after nearly 60 years in tribal leadership roles.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate last summer by Heritage University for his work to remedy Hanford’s legacy of nuclear waste.