New film on former ORNL Director Weinberg has premiere on April 23

Alvin Weinberg Poster

The world premiere of a new film on the life of former Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Alvin Weinberg will be held on Thursday, April 23, at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge. The film was written and directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker and Oak Ridge resident Keith McDaniel.

Although McDaniel has written and directed more than a dozen documentary films, he is generally best known for his films “Secret City: The Oak Ridge Story” and “The Clinton 12.”

According to McDaniel, the biographical documentary entitled “Alvin Weinberg” explores the life of the internationally renowned nuclear scientist.

“I didn’t know Dr. Weinberg very well although I did interview him a couple of years prior to his death,” McDaniel said. “His was a fascinating life. In making this film, I wanted to not only tell stories of his professional achievements but I also wanted to show what Dr. Weinberg was like as a person.” [Read more…]

Planning for national park, Park Service tours Jackson Square, K-25, ORNL, Y-12

Vic Knox of National Park Service

Vic Knox (Photo by D. Ray Smith)

Note: This story was last updated at 12:37 p.m.

Planning for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park has started, and federal officials this week toured Jackson Square, the former K-25 site, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Stops included the Alexander Inn, Chapel on the Hill, the former K-25 Building site, the Graphite Reactor at ORNL, and two buildings at Y-12: Building 9731, a pilot plant, and Building 9204-3, also known as Beta 3.

“Several of those sites are just amazing,” said Vic Knox, associate director of park planning, facilities, and lands for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. “They seem like they are just the way they were in 1943. It seems like they take you back in time.”

Oak Ridge was built as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s fist atomic weapons during World War II. Besides Oak Ridge, the new national park includes Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. [Read more…]

Planning to preserve history of K-25, which could be part of national park

K-25 Building Aerial View

Now demolished, the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building, pictured above, was once used to enrich uranium for atomic weapons and commercial nuclear power plants. Located in west Oak Ridge, the site could become part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. There is a separate effort to preserve K-25’s history; that work could be incorporated into the new park. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy)

 

It was once the world’s largest building under one roof and part of the one of the largest industrial projects ever, a top-secret program to build the world’s first atomic weapons in World War II.

Today the building is gone—demolition was completed in December 2013—but the stories of what took place inside the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building could live on in a replica equipment building, viewing tower, and history center.

And K-25 could become part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park approved by Congress in December and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 19. The 14-page bill was the culmination of 15 years of work, said Colin Colverson, Manhattan Project Park lead in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office.

The law recognizes the Manhattan Project as one of the most significant events in U.S. history, with assets and history that must be preserved. It’s considered one of the top scientific achievements of the 20th century, and Oak Ridge residents still marvel at how quickly the three local sites (K-25, X-10, and Y-12) were built and began operating in all-out race to build an atomic bomb before Germany. [Read more…]

K-25 historic preservation the subject of Thursday lecture

K-25 Footprint

A view of the K-25 footprint. (Image courtesy Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association)

 

The project to preserve the history of the former K-25 Building, once the world’s largest building under one roof, will be discussed during a Thursday evening lecture in Oak Ridge.

It’s the opening of the 18th Annual Dick Smyser Community Lecture Series. It’s jointly sponsored by Friends of ORNL and the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association.

The presentation will provide an update on the K-25 historic preservation efforts by the U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management, a press release said. [Read more…]

Council to consider Preschool paint, special events task force

Oak Ridge Preschool and School Administration Building

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider using $150,000 in unspent red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the Oak Ridge Schools Preschool and Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building on New York Avenue. Officials say the building needs to be renovated or vacated for the Head Start program to receive funding in the 2015-2016 school year. (File photo) 

 

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

The Oak Ridge City Council tonight will consider using $150,000 in red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the city’s Preschool, providing what officials hope will be a temporary fix while they develop a plan to permanently repair, replace, or move the Preschool.

Officials say the building needs to be renovated or vacated for the Head Start program to receive federal funding in the 2015-2016 school year. They are hopeful that their plan to fix the lead-based paint on the decades-old home of the Preschool on New York Avenue by August 3 will satisfy federal officials. A remediation plan could be submitted to federal officials and Anderson County education officials by March 4.

On January 26, the Oak Ridge Board of Education recommended a few first steps that could have children in a new building next year. In addition to asking the city to repair the lead-based paint, the BOE unanimously recommended a new committee be formed to help lay the groundwork for moving into a new preschool by the 2016-2017 school year.

The Oak Ridge Schools Preschool and Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building is owned by the city, and the municipal staff would lead the repair project. [Read more…]

Manhattan Project National Historical Park to be discussed at Altrusa meeting Wednesday

Ray Smith

Ray Smith

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be the focus of the Wednesday luncheon meeting of Altrusa International of Oak Ridge.

Ray Smith, Y-12 National Security Complex historian, will be discussing the honor and importance in having a national park site in Oak Ridge, a press release said. Smith’s presentation will include the potential implications of a national park site in Oak Ridge as well as the probable timeframe for implementation of the national park bill, the release said.

Smith will be covering the potential meaning of the park for the City of Oak Ridge, the American Museum of Science and Energy, the Y-12 National Security Complex Calutrons, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Graphite Reactor, and the East Tennessee Technology Park’s Heritage Center K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Building site. Smith will also discuss how the newly renovated Guest House at the Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge might contribute to the overall national park strategy. [Read more…]

Author Diane Fanning to sign ‘Scandal in the Secret City’ books at AMSE

Diane Fanning

Diane Fanning

Author Diane Fanning will sign copies of her latest novel “Scandal in the Secret City” on Saturday at the American Museum of Science and Energy.

Fanning will be the museum, located at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge, from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, December 6.

Here is more information from an AMSE press release:

Eastern Tennessee is an area filled with the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, clear creeks, and vibrant cities like Knoxville and Chattanooga. In 1942, the U.S. government selected a rural area between the ridges to create the “Secret City” (what is now Oak Ridge). The location was quickly built to develop materials for the Manhattan Project and the purification of uranium for use in the bomb that eventually fell on Hiroshima. [Read more…]

Safety forum on Wednesday to focus on worker accident

Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership

Forum to feature ORNL Excess Property Sales event and how complacency had near-fatal impact

The Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership is having a community safety forum from 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, December 3, at the American Museum of Science and Energy. The safety forum, free of charge and open to the public, will explore an accident in which a worker was seriously injured that occurred earlier in 2014 during a routine transfer of excess equipment from UT-Battelle to the public.

Jimmy Stone, UT-Battelle’s Facilities and Operations Director, will make a presentation about the accident, focusing specifically on what could have been done to have prevented it from occurring, a press release said. [Read more…]

AMSE events calendar for December

AMSE Logo

DECEMBER 5

Grounds Beautification Work Day—AMSE is seeking volunteers to help beautify our grounds from 9-noon. Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves, planting tools, and any extra plants to donate to our flowerbeds. Hot beverages will be provided.

Homeschool Program: Electricity—Students will participate in activities that teach concepts relating to static electricity and direct current. K-2nd grade program is from 10:30 – 11:30 and cost $5 members or $7 non-members. The 3rd – 6th grade program begins at 12:30 – 2:30 and cost $9 members or $12 non-members. Registration information is available at http://amse.org/educators/home-school-programs/

DECEMBER 6

“Scandal in the Secret City” Book Signing—On Saturday, December 6, 2014 Diane Fanning will be a guest of the American Museum of Science and Energy signing copies of her latest novel, SCANDAL IN THE SECRET CITY, from 2-4pm. The book signing is a free event. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Schools offers tours Dec. 16; 30 slots available

Oak Ridge Schools is offering tours of elementary, middle and high school classrooms on December 16. Only 30 slots are available.

The community tour is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. December 16.

“See how Oak Ridge teachers and students are teaching and learning while school is in session,” a press release said. [Read more…]

DOE Oak Ridge Office has Veterans Day program on Thursday

Lindsay M. Long

Lindsay M. Long

The U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office will have a Veterans Day program on Thursday, November 6, and it will feature keynote speaker and Marine Corps veteran Lindsay M. Long.

The program is designed to honor the “courageous men and women who serve and have served in our nation’s armed forces,” a press release said.

The program is scheduled from 10-11 a.m. Thursday at the American Museum of Science and Energy at 300 South Tulane Avenue. It’s open to employees and the public.

Performances include the Oak Ridge Celebration Choir, Lloyd Jones, and a recognition of veterans, and it will conclude with the sounding of “Taps” by USMC Retired Master Sergeant Maurice Parks.

Heritage tourism expert to speak at AMSE community meeting Thursday

Lee Waddell Curtis

Lee Waddell Curtis

The last in a series of four community meetings on the American Museum of Science and Energy will feature a state heritage tourism expert.

Lee Waddell Curtis, director of program development and legislative liaison for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, will discuss the growth and significance of heritage tourism in Tennessee during a Thursday evening meeting at AMSE.

The community meetings have been sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge and the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation. They are designed to gather input on the future of AMSE operations.

A press release said Curtis has an extensive background in cultural and heritage tourism, and her responsibilities include overseeing and developing the Tennessee Civil War Trails program and serving as the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s heritage tourism contact. In addition, she represents the department on several national and statewide organizations, and served as a board member of the state’s Sesquicentennial Commission. [Read more…]