Note: This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4.
A bill to create a Manhattan Project National Park that would include Oak Ridge has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but now itâ€™s tied up in the Senate.
Still, the nonprofit Atomic Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., remains hopeful that the legislation will pass.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House passed in June.
The Senate is now negotiating the procedure for considering 507 amendments that have been offered to that legislation, the Atomic Heritage Foundation said in a Tuesday e-mail.
â€œDespite some contentious issues, we are still hopeful that Congress will pass the NDAA with the Manhattan Project National Historical Park as an amendment,â€ the nonprofit said.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Would include Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash. It would be the first national park to recognize the top-secret work that took place during World War II to build the worldâ€™s first atomic weapons.
In Oak Ridge, the park could include the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, built after the experimental â€œChicago Pile Iâ€ at the University of Chicago. X-10 was a pilot plant for the full-scale plutonium production reactors that were being built at Hanford.
At the Y-12 National Security Complex, it would also include the Beta 3 Building and 9731, the plant’s first building, said D. Ray Smith, Y-12 historian.
It could also include the K-25 site in west Oak Ridge and recreate part of the original gaseous diffusion plant. The mile-long, U-shaped building was once the worldâ€™s largest under one roof, so large that workers rode bicycles to travel around it.
In Hanford, the B Reactor, where plutonium for the atomic bombs was produced, could become even more popular as a tourist attraction.
And in Los Alamos, the new park could include the Oppenheimer House, where Los Alamos Laboratory director J. Robert Oppenheimer and his family lived. Several properties now owned by the Los Alamos National Laboratory could also become part of the park, including the V-Site, where the first plutonium-based atomic bombs were assembled, and the Gun Site, where the â€œLittle Boyâ€ bomb was developed.
In the House, the Manhattan Project park bill and the NDAA amendment were sponsored by congressmen Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican; Ben Ray Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat; and Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican.
In November, Sen. Maria Cantwell, along with senators Patty Murray, Mark Udall, and Martin Heinrich, proposed to include the Senate’s version of the park bill as an amendment to the NDAA, the Atomic Heritage Foundation said.