The documentary Arid Lands travels to the Columbia Basin of southeastern Washington State. This region - once the site of the Hanford nuclear plant that produced plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb in August 1945 - is currently the target of a massive, government-sponsored urban planning effort and home to the most extravagant and far-reaching environmental cleanup in history. As government monies encourage urbanization, a number of contradictions turn up on the landscape - from wild animals roaming among discarded nuclear components, to grapes cropping up amid clusters of sagebrush. Meanwhile, an astonishing number of different types inhabit the area, from tattooists to environmentalists, radiation scientists to architects. Arid Lands explores this region in all of its contradictions, with an emphasis on how residents have impacted the landscape and how the landscape continues to impact residents.
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