U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced on Thursday that he has co-sponsored a bill that would turn several Manhattan Project sites, including areas of Oak Ridge, into a National Historical Park.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat.
“The Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in American history and these sites deserve to be a national park,” Alexander said in a press release. “I am glad to co-sponsor this bill and look forward to working with Sen. Bingaman to make changes before it can become law, including making sure that there is enough flexibility in the legislation so that examples of the alphabet housing and Jackson Square can be appropriately recognized as part of the park.”
In 2004, Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, co-sponsored the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Study Act, which directed the Department of Interior to conduct a study of the Manhattan Project sites for potential inclusion in the National Park System, the press release said.
Two years ago, the Interior Department recommended the creation of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park with units at Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and Hanford.
National Historical Parks are part of the national park system and are commonly areas that are larger and more complex than national historic sites, the press release said.
The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal project during World War II to create the world’s first atomic weapons. Oak Ridge enriched uranium for the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, and local residents and officials have lobbied during the past few years to make sure the formerly Secret City is included in any Manhattan Project National Historical Park.