Message from the President

Progress!!!! The granite stones we have worked so long and hard for have in fact been moved to Jim Acord’s yard – even the big, 42-ton monster. We have Bill Lampson and Lampson Crane and Rigging to thank for that one.

Also, if you don’t already know, the 105-B Reactor Facility Museum Phase I Feasibility Study Report has been issued. This is the principal document which establishes the actions and resources required to turn B Reactor into a bona fide public museum, with exhibits, a decent entrance, and public facilities.

We have issued letters to the Benton County Planning Commission, the City of Richland planners and the DOE-RL planners asking that land be set aside in the Hanford Comprehensive Land Use Plan in order to accommodate the B Reactor as a museum, and to include public exhibits and activity areas. I attended one of the weekly meetings of the Hanford Comprehensive Land Use Planning group, which takes place every Tuesday morning. This meeting brings together the three planning organizations just discussed, and the Native American tribes and other interested parties. It is the ideal forum to ensure our voice is heard in the Hanford land use decisionmaking process.

This leads to a discussion of what happens next. We need to build up our membership, for several reasons:

  • Greater political clout
  • Greater financial base
  • Larger talent base to accomplish our task

We need to have a strong voice in the decisions made regarding the land around B Reactor. We need to raise the funds necessary to compensate Jim Acord for carving the stones. We need to provide talent and person-power to put together displays and exhibits for B Reactor. We need to be pushing the concept of B Reactor Museum with not only the local planners, but the State of Washington, the Washington Museum Association, and a variety of Federal agencies.

There is work enough and more for many people. And, we are on the right path! If you haven’t been active, now is the time to do so. It is also time to approach friends about joining us for the important efforts and events which are to come.

Please call me if you wish to discuss any of our activities.

Jerry Woodcock
President, BRMA

BRMA Board Members

President: Jerry Woodcock
Vice President: Jim Stoffels
Secretary: Pam Novak
Treasurer: Roger Rohrbacher
Committee Chairs:
Fund Raising: (vacant)
Health, Safety & Engineering: Del Ballard
History, Artifacts & E
Exhibits: Lyle Wilhelmi
Membership: Joe Hedges
Public Relations: Jim Thornton

Videotape Project: B Reactor Pioneers

Greg Greger

Early in the planning for B Reactor as a museum, it was recognized that the experience of Hanford project pioneers – those associated with the siting, construction, startup, and early operation – was a vital element of the information that would eventually be made to the public. A sense of urgency also came with the realization that the stories of these people might otherwise be lost with the passage of time.

A concerted effort was made, using records of the DuPont company, project files, and contacts with retirement organizations to establish a list of available (and amenable) people.

The services of a Seattle-based video photographer, Tom Putnam, were recommended for the project. Other BRMA members who have been involved are Jim Acord, Greg Greger, and Tom Clements. The first interviews were taped in 1991. Since then, dates when Tom could be in Richland have been coordinated with the schedules of the interviewees; each interview takes an hour on average. So far, the stories of 20 Hanford project pioneers have been documented, including Col. Franklin Matthias, who in 1943 was instrumental in selecting north Benton County along the Columbia River as the site for the project.

A representative cross section of the interviews to date includes people who were involved with the design, construction, operations, health physics, power supply, and supporting activities during B Reactor’s early period.

The intent is to use the taped interviews (current and future) in the following ways:

Use portions of selected interviews to develop short promotional videos as an aid to obtaining financial support for the completion of the museum project.
Eventually, make a composite tape that will reflect the history of the B Reactor and the many experiences of those who helped make it successful.
If you have comments about this project, funding ideas, or suggestions about people to interview, I invite you to contact me or the BRMA officers.

One Step Closer to Our Goal!

Jim Thornton

The long-awaited B Reactor Museum Phase I Feasibility Study was recently completed by staff at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Bechtel Hanford, Inc., and Parsons Environmental Services, Inc., under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Richland Field Office.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the options for disposition of the B Reactor facility. Six options were evaluated: dismantlement and five different revitalization options.

The revitalization options range from an option that would require minimal physical plant improvements or refurbishments to the most elaborate revitalization option, which would provide public access to a larger portion of the reactor building, include enhanced displays, provide additional tours, and incorporate a cultural center and river access.

The next step, Phase II, will be an engineering study, which should provide sufficient detail for each of the options to permit the development of refined cost estimates.

A Cultural Center Museum

Lyle Wilhelmi

The Department of Energy has given the Hanford Museums of Science and History (formerly the Hanford Science Center) a reprieve until October 1, 1996. By then, the museum must move from the Federal Building to a new location and find new sources of funding.

A new non-profit group, The Environmental Science and Technology Foundation, is dedicated to raising funds for a new museum. Jerry Woodcock is our representative to that group. The museum will be in the 12-acre Cultural Center at Columbia Point, in the area now occupied by the driving links and the Shamnapum club house.

The new museum will be an expanded version of the Hanford Museums of Science and History. The proposed title, the Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology (CREHST), aptly describes the museum’s broad scope. Geologic history, American Indian history, early settler history, and Hanford Site history will be represented along with DOE exhibits. The Center will also be the staging area for B Reactor tours.

DOE continues to generously support museums at Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, Idaho Falls, and Albuquerque, so there is strong precedent for assuming that DOE will financially support exhibits that focus on Hanford activities.

Sharon Atkin, a tireless ex-Hanford employee, is heading the local fundraising effort. She knows her way around both DOE and the site contractors and is developing valuable contacts throughout the state. The fundraising effort is statewide, with emphasis on the Tri-Cities. Projections indicate that three to six million dollars will be needed to build CREHST.

The City of Richland will handle site preparation. The former FFTF visitors center will be moved to the Cultural Center site as temporary quarters. It will not be grand but will support a transition from the Hanford Museums of Science and History to CREHST.

BRMA has pledged its support for the effort. Many volunteers, both skilled and grunt, will be needed to move and reinstall the FFTF visitors center. BRMA members will be there in force because we share this cause.

B Reactor Tours a Success

Jerry Woodcock

On Saturday, August 5, 1995, four busloads of history buffs toured the B Reactor. Three of the buses were a result of our advertising the tour to the general public. The fourth bus was filled with former residents of the Hanford/White Bluffs area making their annual “trip down memory lane.” Our own Annette Heriford was the principal organizer for this.

On hand to guide them through the plant and discuss its historical significance were Roger Rohrbacher, Bill McCue, and John Rector. Gary Fetterolf, Roger Carpenter and Ed Renkey acted as bus tour escorts. Roger Rohrbacher brought lunch for everyone, so we all managed to survive the day handily.

Many compliments were received about the tours. This is certainly the essence of what we are all working toward – the ability to help people feel a sense of world history by learning about this incredibly important edifice.