The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider setting up a committee to celebrate the city’s 75th anniversary.
Oak Ridge’s birthday has been recognized on September 19. That’s because the city that is now Oak Ridge was picked for the top-secret Manhattan Project on September 19, 1942, almost 75 years ago. That was the day that General Leslie Groves approved the acquisition of 59,000 acres of land along the Clinch River for what soon became the Manhattan Project, a federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs, before Germany could. Oak Ridge was then 90 square miles of East Tennessee farmland. It was the first site for Manhattan Project facilities.
By the time President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project on December 28, 1942, work on the East Tennessee site where the first production facilities were to be built was already under way.
Oak Ridge became the home of two uranium enrichment plants (K-25 and Y-12), a liquid thermal diffusion plant (S-50), and a pilot plutonium production reactor (X-10 Graphite Reactor). Groves approved Oak Ridge as the site for the pilot plutonium plant and the uranium enrichment plant in 1942. Manhattan Project engineers had to quickly build a town to accommodate 30,000 workers—as well as build the enormously complex plants. [Read more…]