Public bus tours will be offered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex on Thursday, November 12, as part of the celebration of the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The new park, which is still being set up, includes Oak Ridge.
The special-access tours at ORNL and Y-12 are part of other planned activities in Oak Ridge, and they will include a peek inside Y-12’s Building 9731 and 9204-3 (Beta 3) and ORNL’s historic Graphite Reactor.
Y-12 and Clinton Laboratories—the wartime name for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory—were constructed as part of the Manhattan Project in 1943. The Y-12 Plant provided the Uranium-235 needed for Little Boy, the world’s first nuclear weapon used in warfare. The historic Graphite Reactor at X-10 (now ORNL) proved that plutonium could be produced in a uranium reactor on an industrial scale. These facilities will eventually become a part of the Oak Ridge location of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Energy will sign an agreement in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 10, that establishes the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Besides Oak Ridge, the park will include Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington.
Once signed, the agreement—a memorandum of agreement, or MOA—will officially establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park as a unit of the National Park System. The MOA will formally describe how the National Park Service and the Department of Energy will work together to preserve, protect, and provide access to the historic resources associated with the Manhattan Project.
The Manhattan Project was a top-secret World War II program to build the world’s first atomic weapons.
The B Reactor in Hanford is included in the new Manhattan Project Park, and there are four DOE sites in Oak Ridge that are eligible for inclusion: the former K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park, the Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and buildings 9731 and 9204-3 at the Y-12 National Security Complex. The Alexander Inn, a non-DOE site, is also eligible to be included.
Oak Ridge will celebrate the new park on Thursday, November 12, two days after the signing ceremony. Events have been scheduled at Oak Ridge High School and in Historic Jackson Square. A community celebration with be held at the Oak Ridge High School auditorium beginning at 2 p.m., and there will be a ribbon-cutting at Jackson Square at 4 p.m., followed by a “Community Photo” to commemorate the day.
The first 140 people to sign up for the DOE bus tour will be able to tour the Y-12 and ORNL buildings by bus starting at the Y-12 New Hope Center in Oak Ridge at 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 10 a.m. November 12.
To register for the bus tours go to http://www.y12.doe.gov/tours/register.php. U.S. citizenship (and photo identification) is required for this visit. Because seating is limited, access will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and all visitors must pre-register. The tours are limited to individuals 10 years old and older. All cell phones, cameras, recording devices, or other electronics will not be allowed on the tour. All participants will go through security screening prior to departure.
Access to Y-12 and ORNL is in keeping with DOE security and mission requirements and in coordination with the U.S. National Park Service, a press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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