Manhattan Project Park’s central office proposed for Denver; Oak Ridge, Hanford and Los Alamos to each have site manager

graphitereactor.jpgOak Ridge National Laboratory’s Graphite Reactor, the world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor, will be part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The central office for the three-site Manhattan Project National Historical Park would be located in Denver, Colo., according to a draft “memorandum of agreement” released today by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The park superintendent also would be based in Denver, with each of the three Manhattan Project sites — Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash. — to have their own site manager who reports to the superintendent.

“Each site will have similar levels of staffing as park operations grow over the years,” the news release from the National Park Service states.

The park service is gathering comment on the proposed agreement between now and Aug. 28.

Oak Ridge had lobbied to have the park’s headquarters located in Oak Ridge, where the uranium production facilities were located during the World War II atomic bomb project.

The proposal is to create a central office at Denver. Of the three park sites, Oak Ridge would be farthest away.,

According to online statistics, Oak Ridge is 1,334 miles from Denver; Los Alamos is 352 miles; and Hanford is 1,138 miles away.

Kathy Kupper, a spokeswoman with the NPS in Washington, said the park service already has offices, specialists and regional operations based in Denver. She noted that Denver is sort of the park service headquarters in the West.

Kupper said a team from the National Park Service visited each of the three park sites and met with stakeholders before coming up with the draft agreement. More than 20 letters were received from the communities and members of Congress during that process.

“Each of the three sites is equally important,” she said.

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