Note: This story was updated at 7 p.m.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will sign a memorandum of agreement, or MOA, in Washington, D.C., to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which will include Oak Ridge.
The new park will be the first of its type to commemorate the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II. The park will have three locations: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington.
National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will attend the Tuesday morning ceremony along with U.S. senators Lamar Alexander, Maria Cantwell, Martin Heinrich, and Tom Udall, who represent each of the park’s locations. Leaders of the communities that will host the park, including Oak Ridge, will attend the ceremony.
“The science of the Manhattan Project laid the foundation for innovation in fields such as nuclear medicine and clean energy, which has enhanced the quality of our lives, helped keep us competitive in a global economy, and maintained our national security,” Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act became law as part of a provision passed in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The Park establishes three different sites in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford. The park will conserve historic sites and artifacts that played a key role during the nuclear era while telling the story of the world’s first atomic bomb and exploring its historical and societal consequences.
“The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will give current and future generations a better understanding of this indisputable turning point in world history,” said Roane County Executive Ron Woody, who is secretary of the Energy Communities Alliance. “We look forward to telling that story together.”
For more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Energy and National Park Service, in cooperation with other federal agencies, state, and local governments and stakeholders—including Oak Ridge, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and Energy Communities Alliance, among others—have worked to create the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. On December 19, 2014, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, which included provisions authorizing the steps to establish the park.
Once signed, the 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 Tuesday signing ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will be streamed live online at doi.gov/live.
“Our communities are honored to be working together to tell the story of the Manhattan Project,” said Steve Young, ECA vice chair and mayor of Kennewick, Washington. “The Park creates a real opportunity to preserve history while realizing the benefits the Park’s heritage tourism industry will create for our communities.”
ECA is a nonprofit organization of local governments that host, or are adjacent to, U.S. Department of Energy sites.
See previous stories on the park here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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