THE MODERATOR – Spring 1997

Message from the President

The beat goes on, as we continue to make progress in several important areas.

First, Lyle Wilhelmi worked up a list of artifacts and an overall concept of what different areas of B Reactor should look like as a museum. This list has been formally given to Bechtel and DOE, and they have promised to secure as much of the material as possible.

Second, about six of us visited C Reactor, which is the first reactor to undergo the “cocooning” process (disassembled, demol ished, and sealed). We were given the opportunity to go through the control room and identify items we are interested in. The list of equipment we tagged is fairly extensive.

Third, our Vision Statement is being updated to reflect our changing thinking in cooperation with DOE. In this next iteration, we want to include the concept of the rail tour of the Hanford Site, and railroad static displays behind B Reactor.

Which brings us to the fourth point. Don Sandberg and I have been trading messages about what is and is not practical about getting railroad rolling stock for display as part of the B Reactor. We continue to work with DOE and Bechtel on this important concept.

West Richland has signed a resolution supporting conversion of B Reactor to a museum. Other cities are expected to sign similar resolutions. More on this as it develops.

Fund raising continues to be a concern of mine. We are not like other organizations in that we will never (probably) own either the B Reactor or the grounds surrounding it. This makes it awkward to tap the usual funding sources for this sort of endeavor.

One immediate need is to find the money necessary to begin paying Jim Acord for carving the three massive granite stones we procured to enhance the value of the B Reactor museum. We also see the need for funding a short list of other potential expendi tures, such as a permanent phone number for our organization. Of course, we also have on going expenses such as stationery, the post office box, printing, postage, etc. As we move farther along in our plans, there will undoubtedly be more expenses. Suggestions about fund raising are certainly welcome. Please call me with your thoughts.

We are getting requests for tour guides at times, as DOE or Bechtel brings visitors to B Reactor. Anyone wishing to volunteer for this should call either Lyle Wilhelmi or myself.

Again, my very grateful appreciation to those members who are working so hard, attending many meetings, and writing letters to move us closer to our goals.


Jerry Woodcock
President, BRMA

BRMA Board Members

President: Jerry Woodcock
Vice President: Jim Stoffels
Secretary: Pam Novak
Treasurer: Roger Carpenter

Committee Chairs:

Fund Raising: (vacant)
Health, Safety, & Engineering: Del Ballard
History, Artifacts, & Exhibits: Lyle Wilhelmi
Membership: Joe Hedges
Public Relations: Jim Thornton
Editor: Gene Weisskopf

Schedule a B Reactor Presentation

Jerry Woodcock and Jim Thornton have prepared a set of presentation materials on the past, present, and future of the B Reactor, which we plan to combine with the slides that were organized by Del Ballard and Jim Stoffels.

Jim Thornton made a presentation to the Atomic City Kiwanis Club on April 29. It was well received and lead to the scheduling of a presentation to the Columbia Kiwanis Club of Kennewick on July 23.

We hope to expand upon these materials and encourage you to loan us any pictures, stories, artifacts of interest, or your suggestions.

And if you know of an organization that would be interested in hearing the story of the B Reactor, please contact Jim Thornton, our Information Officer.

Phase II Study Bodes Well for the Future of the B Reactor

The Phase II feasibility and engineering study that will define the cost of making the B Reactor a museum now seems assured. And on an accelerated schedule.

The engineering study is now part of the Tri-Party Agreement, and appears in the Negotiations for the Disposition of Hanford Surplus Reactors. The outcome of the nego tiations will be released for public review and comment, and should be final by the end of August.

The document says in reference to B Reactor, under the heading 105-B Reactor Interim Safe Storage:

105-B Reactor Agreement activities will be coordinated with, and dependent in part on the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) decision processes.

Three milestones are listed for B Reactor:

  1. M-93-04: Submit 105-B hazards assessment and characterization report to EPA – June 1999.
  2. M-93-05: Issue B Reactor Feasibility Study Engineering Design Report for public comment – June 2000.
  3. M-93-06-T01: Submit B Reactor Sur veillance and Maintenance Plan for EPA approval in part.

Thanks to Del Ballard and Lyle Wilhelmi for their participation in negotiation briefings, and to Madeleine Brown for making these opportunities available through her role on the Hanford Advisory Board.

Drop Them a Line

Let our elected representatives know the import ance of preserving Hanford’s B Reactor. You’d be surprised at the power of a single letter!

The Honorable Richard “Doc” Hastings
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington D.C. 20515

The Honorable Slade Gorton
U. S. Senate
Washington D.C. 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
U. S. Senate
Washington D.C. 20510

Critical Mass

Membership chairman Joe Hedges reports that the B Reactor Museum Association con tinues to grow. We’d like to welcome the most recent new members to our Association: Richard Dierks, Jim Hamilton, Virginia Hedges, Martha Woodcock, and Jim Williams.

Thank you all for showing your interest in Hanford’s B Reactor, and for bringing yourself to the BRMA! Each new member adds a new set of talents and perspectives to the group.

Our membership goal is a simple one, to reach critical mass, where the energy we bring to the group will be self-sustaining!

As new members arrive, the pool of possibilities grows larger. Each new member brings the potential for a new idea, a new project, and yet another new connection to others who have new ideas of their own.

But like the physicists at the turn of the century, our own critical mass is still a theory and an exciting prospect. With your help, our group can grow. Sign up a friend or two who can help us reach our critical mass!

Dupus Boomer Hits the Moderator

The Dupus Boomer character and cartoon are © Dick Donnell; all rights reserved.

dupusIf you still chuckle when you think of HEW, prefabs, dust storms, DuPont, bowling in the Rec Hall, and a town where just about every thing was “GI,” then you no doubt remember Richland’s own Dupus Boomer.

The brainchild of Dick Donnell (a DuPont employee starting in September, 1944), Dupus first appeared in the Richland Villager in late 1945. He cast an observant eye and ever-so patient tolerance towards life in the town that Hanford built. We now welcome Dupus to the Moderator, where we expect he will add a bit of zest, wit, and fondness to these pages.

We owe a special thanks to our own Roger Rohrbacher, who had the good sense to plunk down 50¢ for a copy of You Asked For It. This 1946 booklet may be the definitive (and perhaps the only) collection of Boomer cartoons. Now, does anyone know of Dick Donnell, Boomer’s creator? (If not, his lawyers may be contacting us anyway.).

All Right, Where are We?

dupus972There’s a certain age when every youngster turns quizically to his father, and with a look of complete confidence in the old man’s ability to give him the straight stuff on the facts of life, asks, “Where did I come from?” Richland children are different, just like their parents. They don’t ask, “Where did I come from?” What they are really interested in is the answer to the question “Where am I?” [Dick Donnell]