1943 Memorandum for the
construction of Hanford
A fascinating and highly readable historical document, this Memorandum between the
United States government and the du Pont company describes the scope of work involved in
constructing the entire Hanford Engineer Works (referred to as the "Plant"),
consisting of three plutonium production reactors (piles), a uranium fuel manufacturing
factory, and two huge chemical reprocessing plants to recover the plutonium.
Written in September 1943, about nine months after du Pont and the government signed an
informal letter-of-agreement that initiated work on Hanford, the Memorandum tells how
extremely reluctant du Pont was to take on the massive and highly speculative project. It
describes the technical aspects of the nuclear transmutation process for changing uranium
into plutonium and points out the various ways in which the entire venture could fail. It
foretells in chilling detail the possibility of a catastrophic accident like that which
occurred 43 years later at Chernobyl.
History," B Reactor 60th anniversary address by Richard Rhodes
- B Reactor Museum Association is an all-volunteer
association of individuals and groups working to preserve the historic B Reactor on the
Hanford Nuclear Site in southeastern Washington State as a public museum. Website has an
archive of quarterly newsletters plus articles on the history, construction, and operation
of plutonium production facilities at Hanford.
- Nuclear Files has a wealth of information on
nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, missile defense, and weapons in space. Each topic has
sections on basics, history, and issues. The history section on nuclear weapons contains
primary source documents of the Manhattan
Project , including Einstein's letter to Roosevelt, letters of J. R. Oppenheimer and
Gen. Leslie Groves, the Roosevelt-Churchill "tube alloys" deal, and eyewitness
accounts of the "Trinity" test by Fermi and others.
- The Trinity Atomic Web Site tells the story of
nuclear weapons through historical documents, photos, and videos. Includes criticality
accidents, nuclear test photos, nuclear weapon physics and effects, Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, and more.
- The Nuclear Weapon Archive contains an
interesting and broad assortment of nuclear weapons documents and links.
- "Fifty Years from Trinity"
is The Seattle Times Web edition of a special supplement that was printed on July
16, 1995. Includes supplementary material, interactive activities, and
- The Hanford Nuclear Site is run by the Richland
Operations Office (DOE-RL) of the U.S. Department of
Energy and is the home of the B Reactor. Hanford was Site W during the Manhattan
Project and created plutonium for the Trinity test and the Nagasaki atomic bomb. Provides
current information about clean up activities on the 560-square-mile Hanford Site. The DOE
Hanford Cultural and Historic
Resources covers three phases Native American, pioneer settler, and Manhattan
Project/Cold War era and includes historical photographs.
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory is another Department of
Energy site in Tennessee. Oak Ridge was the Manhattan Project's Site X and separated
uranium 235 from natural uranium for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
- Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, is also
under the Department of Energy. Los Alamos was the Manhattan Project's Site Y, and is
where the first atomic bombs were designed and built. Includes a link to the Bradbury
- "Venona" was the code name assigned to a secret program of the U.S. Army’s Signal Intelligence Service, the precursor to the National Security Agency, to investigate Soviet espionage during the 1940s and '50s about the U.S. atomic bomb program. The NSA site has a history of the Venona program and thousands of decoded and declassified Soviet messages. The first nuclear reactors built in the Soviet Union bore a remarkable resemblance to those that already existed at Hanford.