September 26, 2015 was the 71st anniversary of the start-up of the B Reactor, the world's first full-scale plutonium reactor. The next day, it mysteriously shut down. Working all night, the scientists realized the problem was due to xenon poisoning. Luckily, DuPont's engineers had insisted on providing space for additional fuel rods as a contingency measure. An extra 500 rods saved the day, allowing the reactor to start up again and continue running. The plutonium used in the Trinity test and the Fat Man bomb was produced by B Reactor.

For more about the B Reactor, how it worked, and its mysterious failure, take our Ranger in Your Pocket online tour!
MPParkBirthday for the Park: Nov. 10, 2015
The X-10 Graphite Reactor
Hats off! The birthday of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is now set for November 10, 2015. While the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act became law on December 19, 2014, the Act requires that the Departments of Energy and Interior reach an agreement within a year of enactment on their respective roles in implementing the new park. At that time, the park will be officially established.

We understand that the Departments of Energy and the National Park Service leaders are close to an agreement. Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz and Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell are scheduled to have a signing ceremony on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

The Manhattan Project Park Act passed after the National Park Service's FY 2016 budget was in place so the funds available in 2016 for NPS's work on the park are limited to $180,000. 

The B Reactor at Hanford
NPS Associate Director Victor Knox talked about 2016 as a transitional year for the new park, as the Park Service assumes management and focuses on how best to interpret the story of the Manhattan Project. The Department of Energy and its laboratories have been funding a variety of activities this year and have developed a five-year budget plan for restoring and providing public access to its historic assets.

Despite a bidding contest for the designation for the park's headquarters, the National Park Service's draft agreement names the Denver Service Center (DSC) as the headquarters. The DSC provides integrated park planning and developed the special resource study, prelude to creating the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in 2010, and the Memorandum of Agreement to be signed in November.

The V-Site at Los Alamos
What can you expect next year? Be patient. NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis expects that it will take two more years to complete the planning and three to five years after that to prepare the sites for public access. For example, while the V Site at Los Alamos was restored under a Save America's Treasures grant in 2005, the public will not have regular access to it until the Los Alamos National Laboratory consolidates its operations in the area. Similarly, the T-Plant at the Hanford site will not be on the tour route as work continues inside the former chemical separations plant.

But there are still many sites that will be available to the public. Local museums are eagerly awaiting an influx of tourists at each of the three sites. In addition, virtual tours will be available through the Atomic Heritage Foundation's Ranger in Your Pocket website. Visitors to the new park can access these tours on their smartphones and tablets to listen to Manhattan Project veterans recount their experiences working on the project that changed the world. Stay tuned!
The restored Alexander Guest House. Photo courtesy of John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today.
Good news from Oak Ridge: the Alexander Guest House has been restored to its former glory. During the Manhattan Project, leaders such as General Leslie R. Groves, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Secretary of War Henry Stimson stayed at the historic inn. After the war, it was a community landmark. But it hadn't been used since the 1990s, and the building fell into disrepair.

The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance received a $500,000 grant from DOE as part of the K-25 North End mitigation plan. This grant allowed the organization to buy the inn, and a developer quickly expressed interest in restoring it and transforming it into a senior assisted living home.

WWII veteran Dean Ford in the restored building. Photo courtesy of John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today.
The renovations are now complete, and the inn looks fantastic. According to John Huotari of Oak Ridge Today, "Workers saved and restored as much of the Alexander Inn as possible, including the original floors and structure. The hotel's poplar paneling was re-milled." 

Sixty percent of the 64 apartments have already been reserved. One of the new residents will be Dean Ford, a World War II veteran who worked at the Y-12 Plant for more than 40 years. Ford said, "It's part of the history of Oak Ridge. It's just amazing to see it come back today."

AtomicTimeAtomic Time Moves to New Mexico
Part of the Critical Assembly
Artist Jim Sanborn spent ten years investigating the Manhattan Project and collecting artifacts from the Black Hole in Los Alamos and many other sources to create a magnificent exhibit called "Atomic Time." The exhibition opened in 2003 in Washington, DC at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. As the catalogue noted, the exhibition is "pure science, pure seduction, pure art."

Soon the exhibition will have a new home in New Mexico. Working closely with Jim Sanborn, the Atomic Heritage Foundation explored several possible venues from Cambridge to Chicago to Los Alamos and eventually helped facilitate an agreement with the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (NMNSH) in Albuquerque. Jim Sanborn has generously agreed to donate the exhibition and many extra pieces collected from the Manhattan Project including Marchant calculators, gooseneck lamps and oak furniture.

The core exhibition recreates the critical assembly or physics package of the Trinity device. While the measurements are deliberately inexact, the pieces are exquisitely machined and polished, some even made by jewelers. Original electronic components, heavy black cables, and period work lights set the stage for five work tables where the assemblies are recreated.

Physics package, bottom of the Trinity device
Jim Walther, executive director of the NMNSH, is delighted with this extraordinary gift to the museum. Walther plans to display the core exhibition beginning in early 2017 and later in the museum's planned 5,000 SF expansion to interpret the Manhattan Project and Cold War. In the meantime, if another museum wants to show some components of Sanborn's multi-part creation, Walther will arrange for loans.

Thanks to philanthropist Clay Perkins for his generous offer to cover the cost of transportation from Sanborn's studio in Piney Point, MD to Albuquerque, NM. The museum will soon receive nearly two dozen crates of art and artifacts that capture the beginning of the atomic age. 

WatsonObitIn Memoriam: Watson C. Warriner, Sr.
We are sad to report that our friend and Manhattan Project veteran Watson C. Warriner, Sr. passed away on September 17, 2015 at the age of 97. He was passionate about Manhattan Project history and preserving the sites, especially Hanford and the trains.

Warriner graduated from Virginia Tech in 1938 with a degree in chemical engineering. He was then hired by the DuPont company to work in their Engineering Department. He was sent to DuPont headquarters in Wilmington, where he was assigned to the heavy water group. 

The T-Plant under construction
In early 1944, he was transferred to the separations area and sent to Hanford, WA. He helped design and build the first chemical separation plant at Hanford (also known as the 221 T-Plant or one of the "Queen Marys"). After the war, he worked at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina designing facilities. In 1955, he transferred to the Plastics Department of DuPont, and worked in sales for thermoplastics until retiring in 1981.

He loved to travel, especially by train. In 2013 he helped the Atomic Heritage Foundation develop a pamphlet, Journey to Destiny, featuring his own journey across the country to Pasco, WA and the role of trains at Hanford.

For more about Warriner and his important work on the Manhattan Project, visit his profile page or watch his interview on "Voices of the Manhattan Project." 
ManhattanTV"Manhattan" Season 2 Premieres Oct. 13
The WGN America show "Manhattan" returns in less than two weeks, on October 13. Follow us on Twitter @AtomicHeritage as we live-tweet episodes, and visit our website for reviews of each episode. If you're catching up, check out our recaps of season one! 

The first season boosted the public's interest in the Manhattan Project, and we hope more people will be fascinated by this dramatic history. Just in time for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park!

Here are some recent additions to our Voices of the Manhattan Project website.

To Fermi With Love - Part 2: Laura Fermi discusses the family's decision to leave Italy in 1938 in the wake of the government's support for anti-Semitic laws. The program describes Enrico winning the Nobel Prize for Physics. Herb Anderson, Fermi's associate at Columbia University in New York, remembers Fermi's arrival to the city and move to Chicago to work in the Chicago Met Lab. The interviewees also recall working on the Chicago Pile-1.

Not long after completing his sophomore year at MIT, Norman Brown was recruited into the Manhattan Project. First stationed at Oak Ridge, he was assigned to the Special Engineer Detachment at Los Alamos. Brown helped process the plutonium that was used in the Trinity test and in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. He discusses barracks life, security at Los Alamos, and his impressions of J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves. He also recounts his efforts to witness the Trinity test and a visit to the memorials at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Harold Hoover was a member of the Special Engineer Detachment during the Manhattan Project. He worked as a filter foreman at the Y-12 Plant, but his real job was in counterintelligence, to ensure no sabotage occurred. In this interview, he discusses life in the secret city of Oak Ridge, and how he met his wife, who was a contestant in a beauty pageant.

Fred Hunt, a mechanical engineer who worked in the power department for DuPont during the late 1930s, arrived in Hanford in 1943. Hunt describes his interaction with Enrico Fermi, who occasionally visited the facilities to monitor their progress. He describes the ease with which he was able to procure materials and ordnance and offers his opinion on the use of the atomic bomb.

Leroy Jackson and Ernest Wende were transferred into the Manhattan District shortly after its formation in 1942. They both lived and worked at Oak Ridge during the war and were closely involved in the design and construction of the site's thousands of residential units and cafeterias and recreational facilities, as well as the Y-12 and K-25 Plants and the X-10 Graphite Reactor. They discuss the power structure of Oak Ridge during the project.

Leon Love was a metallurgist for the Cook Electronic Company in Chicago, and worked under contract with the Manhattan Engineer District. George Banic worked on high voltage power supplies for the General Electric Company in Schenectady, and came to Oak Ridge in March 1944 to help with the Y-12 Plant. They describe in detail how the calutrons were started, the ionization process, and the variables that affected start-up. 

Raemer Schreiber joined the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos in November 1943, where he worked on the water boiler reactor used to test critical mass. In 1945, Schreiber was transferred to the Gadget Division and was a member of the pit assembly team for the Trinity Test, watching the explosion from base camp. In this interview, Schreiber describes his time working on the water boiler reactor and proving that the reaction of uranium could become self-sustaining. Schreiber also discusses the Trinity test and his role in escorting the second plutonium bomb core to Tinian.

Jane Yantis was the wife of a petroleum engineer, Carl Yantis, who worked at the Oak Ridge site during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Yantis discusses how she and her husband ended up at the Oak Ridge area. She remembers accidentally fermenting apples in her pantry, the difficulty to find adequate housing, and how friendly everybody was. She also discusses the alcohol restriction at Oak Ridge and the tight security.

Thanks to all the Manhattan Project veterans and their families who stay in touch with us. Please let us know how we can serve you better and consider making a donation to support our efforts. Thank you!

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