Hanford's B Reactor was the world’s first, full-scale nuclear reactor and produced the plutonium used in the “Fat Man” bomb dropped over Nagasaki, Japan. Photo courtesy Department of Energy
A picture of a mockup of "Fat Man," the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. Photo via National Archives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress is moving forward with legislation to establish a national park devoted to the Manhattan Project that spurred the global atomic era. One of the proposed sites is at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. It was the subject of a hearing Wednesday.
Washington state played a key role in helping the U.S. develop nuclear weapons. The Department of Energy hails the Hanford site as an “engineering marvel.” It was the first large scale plutonium production facility in the world and was erected in a mere 13 months.
Now lawmakers want to make part of the site a national park, along with nuclear facilities in Tennessee and New Mexico.
Herbert Frost is an associate director at the National Park Service. He told a Senate panel the current proposal allows the site to evolve over time.
“As these provisions will give the National Park Service the flexibility to shape the park over time and to provide the promotion and education and interpretation related to the park’s purpose.”
The proposed national park has its critics. The Hanford site produced the plutonium that went into the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Anti-nuclear activists worry the park could glorify the atom bomb.
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