The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge facilities public bus tour begins June 4 and continues through August 31.
The three-hour tour starts at the American Museum of Science and Energy and travels to landmarks at the three DOE sites: East Tennessee Technology Park (the former K-25 site), Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex.
The tour provides visitors with historical facts and updates on the world-class missions under way in Oak Ridge.
Bus stops include:
New Hope Center at the Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex: The visitor facility houses the History Center featuring displays about the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, and other Y-12 missions.
Bethel Valley Church: New Bethel Baptist Church and Cemetery, founded in 1851 and officially closed by former church members as a house of worship in 1949 following the incorporation of Oak Ridge’s Manhattan Project sites into the Oak Ridge Reservation. Its cemetery features covered grave houses that are unique to the region. The church is still in use for special events and homecoming celebrations.
Historic Graphite Reactor: The Graphite Reactor, a national historic landmark, is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This served as the pilot project that led to the first production of plutonium. Visitors will be able to view the exterior of the world’s oldest nuclear reactor.
East Tennessee Technology Park: Tour visitors will see the refurbished Visitor’s Center at ETTP and learn about the gaseous diffusion process that enriched uranium powering the first atomic bomb.
Visiting the American Museum of Science and Energy, as well as participating in the public bus tour, allows visitors to go behind the scenes and explore the lives of those who lived and worked behind the fences of the 1940s Secret City.
The tours are available Monday through Friday, from 12-3 p.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and seating is limited.
There are no tours on government holidays and participants must be U.S. citizens who are over 10 to register as well as have a photo ID. Tour-goers requiring special accommodations for the tour can contact AMSE at (865) 576-3200 at least 48 hours in advance.
Since its beginning in 1996, the tour has been a focal point for tourists visiting the area, according to a press release from DOE Oak Ridge Public Affairs.
AMSE admission includes access to the museum’s interactive and historical exhibits, live demonstrations, and the DOE public bus tour. Prices are $5 per adult, $4 per senior citizen (65+), and $3 for students (ages 6-17).
AMSE is located at 300 South Tulane Ave.
For more information, please call Lissa Clarke at AMSE at (865) 576-3218 or DiAnn Fields at DOE at (865) 576-0885, or visit www.amse.org.