“The Beginning or the End,” a docudrama about the development of the first atomic bombs, was a big attraction at the Grove Theater in Oak Ridge in March 1947. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)
Aerial photograph of Graphite Reactor during the World War II Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, March 10, 1944.The world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor served as a prototype facility for the production of plutonium and later became a source of radioisotopes for medicine and research. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)
Basketball was big in Oak Ridge during the 1940s. In fact, my mother, who worked for the Parks and Recreation Department during the World War II Manhattan Project, said she first saw my father at a basketball game in Oak Ridge. “He had nice legs,” she said. In this Dec. 28, 1947 photograph, the Oak Ridge Elks Club is playing a team from Maryville. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)
The early nuclear operations at X-10, which later became Oak Ridge National Laboratory, generated a lot of highly radioactive wastes. This July 7, 1943 photograph shows the construction of huge gunite tanks that were used for storage of those wastes. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)
It appears that President Obama’s planned trip to Hiroshima, Japan, is garnering support in Oak Ridge, where Manhattan Project facilities produced the enriched uranium for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II.
News Sentinel reporter Bob Fowler has the story.
Heather McClenahan, executive director of the Los Alamos Historical Society, will be the guest speaker at the May 3 meeting of the Oak Ridge Heritage & Preservation Association. The meeting gets started at 7 p.m. at the Midtown Community Center, 103 Robertsville Rd., in Oak Ridge. Continue reading
Aerial view of the Jackson Square area in 1943, with Oak Ridge High School on the hill in the background. That’s Central Avenue with dorms on the right, and the Central Cafeteria on the left. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, walks past A-Bomb Dome after visiting the site in Hiroshima, Japan on Monday. Kerry visited the revered memorial to Hiroshima’s atomic bombing on Monday, delivering a message of peace and hope for a nuclear-free world seven decades after United States used the weapon for the first time in history and killed 140,000 Japanese. Peace Action, the largest peace group in the United States, issued a statement praising Kerry and called on President Obama to visit Hiroshima next month during the G7 meeting and expand his commitment to help rid the world of nuclear weapons. (Shingo Nishizume/Kyodo News via AP)
The Department of Energy, of course, is battling lots of obstacles in trying to clean up what once were the engineering jewels of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War. Not the least of the problems is water pouring through the disabled roofs of old, old buildings. In many cases, DOE is simply trying to stem the tide — so to speak — until the day comes when there’s enough money and manpower to tear down the buildings and clean up the mess.
One of the roofs targeted for repairs is at Alpha-4, a mercury-laden building at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. Asked how much rainwater had accumulated in the building’s basement, DOE cleanup manager Sue Cange replied:
“The volume of the water fluctuates because of the season and the amount of rainfall.” Continue reading
The current hiring campaign at Y-12 and Pantex has attracted attention, signaling changes in the mission work at the nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas. But today’s post-Cold War hiring surge pales in comparison to the urgent job hires that took place in Oak Ridge during the World War II Manhattan Project. The above photograph show workers processing the paperwork for a crowd of applicants on June 5, 1944. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)