THE MODERATOR – Spring 2001
K > 1
Hello B Reactor, Good-bye
Very soon now, the world will have a chance to say “Hello” to B Reactor. Not that they couldn’t meet the reactor right now, but it wouldn’t be easy. Today, the 105-B building stands behind a locked gate within a secured DOE site, and is still essentially a decommissioned Hanford reactor awaiting a decision on its future.
The virtually empty 100-B/C Area, with the cocooned C Reactor standing a lonely sentinel, are stark reminders of how quickly the world can move on. We hope the world will stop moving on this summer, when the EPA considers the DOE’s B Reactor Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA).
This document will define the future for B Reactor. If the EPA and the public approve the plan, the DOE can move ahead (at full speed, dare we say?) and upgrade the building to make it safe and accessible for the general public. When the work has progressed through the rooms of the tour route (and before the rest of the work is completed), B Reactor will be ready for the world to stop by and say “Hello.”
We have to keep in mind that even though the EE/CA will define the reactor’s future, it is not a museum-making document. It simply lays out several options for making the building safe to leave standing (see Chris Smith’s article on page 4). The option we’re interested in is upgrading the building to take care of any hazards—radiological, asbestos, lead, mercury, electrical, and so on, so that it will be safe for public occupancy.
Once the building approaches that point, we and the DOE and Congress and the National Park Service or Fish & Wildlife or whoever, can decide how to fund the work necessary to make the reactor into the B Reactor Museum, no doubt of international renown.
And that’s when the “Good-bye” comes in. The shy bird in the protected cage will be released for all to see, displayed in a light that is no longer beamed solely by we interested and caring observers.
Up until that time, a relatively small pool of people have expressed opinions about the historical importance of B Reactor—engineers of various sorts, people who work in the nuclear industry and especially those who work at Hanford, local long-time residents who are proud of what was accomplished here, and a variety of very small groups who have toured the reactor and learned of its role in history. Most of these are U.S. citizens, and mostly local ones at that. Once the 100-B gate is unlocked and the 105-B doors are opened, the rest of the world will have a chance to learn about and also to consider the historical importance of B Reactor.
For those who have been carrying the flame all along, and especially for those who built and worked at B Reactor, the public unveiling of this historic building will also be a time of saying “good-bye” to the place you’ve always known, and “hello” to the historic monument it will become. The tears of joy will undoubtedly be mixed with tears of farewell and Godspeed.
BRMA Board Members – 2001
President: Gene Weisskopf
Vice President: Jim Stoffels
Secretary: Madeleine Brown
Treasurer: Warren Sevier
Health, Safety, & Engineering: Del Ballard
History, Artifacts, & Exhibits: Lyle Wilhelmi
Membership: Joe Hedges
Public Relations: Jim Thornton
Editor: Gene Weisskopf
Graphite Preserved for Future Generations
It appears that our efforts have finally paid off. The cache of graphite that had been deemed to be “excess property” and awaiting disposal, has now been become a “cultural resource” or “historic artifact.” Along with the new definition comes a new home—the graphite will be moved from Hanford’s excess property yard to a new home on the grounds of the 100-B Area.
This collection of Hanford “black gold” is a mix of graphite. Much was to be used in reactors, particularly N Reactor, while some was evidently for in-ground vitrification work (four-foot long graphite conductors and the like).
All of it will someday play an important part in any museum that tells Hanford’s story. It is the one material that is unique to Hanford. While it filled the mammoth cores of Hanford’s reactors, it was never seen because it is hidden by many feet of shielding. Our own BRMA logo is based on the graphite and process tube arrangement of the graphite core of B Reactor.
It looks as though the graphite will be held under the auspices (and control) of Hanford’s Cultural Resources program, Dee Lloyd’s domain. How, when, where and by whom it will be used remains to be seen, but at least the graphite is put aside for future use. We’re also hopeful that a cache of boron balls from N Reactor will be preserved, as well.
Many people had a hand in helping to make this come about (which always seems to be the case at Hanford). Gene & Lyle in the BRMA wrote letters and e-mails, made phone calls, attended meetings with various people, and generally tried to keep up the quest. The letters we sent to Keith Klein were given respectful consideration, which means a lot when you’re dealing with the giant edifice of the DOE. Dru Butler at Bechtel was instrumental in guiding the process to the relevant people and regulations. Chris Smith and Beth Bilson at DOE were conduits for the process, and let’s not forget Vanita Boston, Chuck Willingham, and even Mike Hughes at Bechtel, who all played a part in getting the graphite set aside.
Thanks to this effort, the material that was key to Hanford’s reactors will be part of the B Reactor Museum, where atomic energy was first put to use.
It’s a Whole New Ballgame
[Past-president Lyle Wilhelmi has a certain sensitivity to the seemingly immutable laws of the universe on which Hanford operates.]
And we must change the way we work to deal with it. As soon as the EE/CA is completed the DOE must mitigate any hazards cited. That will clear the way for permitting visitors of all ages to visit B Reactor Museum. The EE/CA is a study of all the B Reactor hazards and ways of mitigating those hazards under the watchful eye of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Previously DOE did a hazards analysis and proposed mitigation plan for just the present tour route through 105-B. The EPA deemed that study inadequate and the result is the EE/CA, an expanded study.
Meanwhile the gamesmanship between DOE and the BRMA continues. For a year or so after Dru Butler became what we like to call the B-Czar we experienced a new level of openness and communication between DOE and BRMA. Now that seems to be moving towards the traditional Hanford culture way of dealing with outsiders—polite communiqués giving us little insight into DOE plans and progress.
Once the health hazards of 105-B have been addressed we need to work on providing open public access to the reactor such as they have at Oak Ridge and the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory’s breeder Reactor. If they can do it surely we can do it too..
Read All About It!!
It’s likely that by the time you’re reading this in The Moderator, everyone else on the planet will be reading about us in the pages of the New York Times. Or if not in the literal pages of this well-regarded newspaper, then in their virtual pages at http://www.nytimes.com.
The NY Times came to town in February in the person of Patricia (Patty) Leigh Brown. She spent three days here researching an article about Hanford’s history, how that history is being preserved, and how it will be made available to the public.
We were called to accompany her on a tour of B Reactor on February 6. Gene and Lyle served as representatives of the BRMA organization, and Dee McCullough came along to add authenticity, credibility, and charm to the tour.
But the trip to B Reactor was only a part of her Hanford tour. Thank goodness she was a journalist with lots of experience, because “learning” about Hanford involves hours and hours and miles and miles, including interviews with Keith Klein, Michele Gerber, Dee Lloyd, and all of us on the reactor tour, some time at CREHST, a tour of the Hanford Site, breakfast with some HEW pioneers, and about a thousand pages of notes. The point is that seemingly straightforward issue of preserving Hanford’s history somehow also involves federal budgets, Tri-Party Agreements, the EPA, Bechtel’s role in the 100 Areas, the local community’s interests, and on and on and on. At least 97 stories all overlapping the one.
At any rate, we spent over three hours showing her around the reactor and answering her questions. Also on hand were Bechtel’s Team Lead at B Reactor, Dru Butler (the B Czar), Dave Harvey from PNL (who started Patty on the trail of her article), and Connie Estep and her new sidekick Renée from CREHST. And also Patty umm…a commercial photographer from Kennewick who has taken photos at B Reactor before.
Photographs were taken, a thousand topics were discussed (including the BRMA), and anyone but a seasoned journalist would’ve melted under the flood of information. Did we remember to mention just why B Reactor was built in the first place?
We did remember to give her an “I Toured B Reactor” refrigerator magnet and some information about us.
Afterwards, I gladly accepted an invitation to dinner with her. A chance to have a conversation of more than a few sentences, and maybe clarify some of the issues, at least from the BRMA’s perspective. Oh, and the NY Times was picking up the bill. Finally, a pay-off for being president of the group.
I think it was helpful and certainly more relaxing than the hurricane of information she had been taking in. Afterwards, we met up with Jim Stoffels and then Lyle Wilhelmi at her motel, and sat around for a half-hour discussing B Reactor and the BRMA.
Of course, as soon as we left I had that grave sinking feeling that I suppose is perfectly natural after one talks with a reporter for an upcoming article. Or exposé, we shall see. But no matter how the article comes out, the world will read about B Reactor in the New York Times, and that’s saying a lot.
The article finally appeared in the Saturday April 7, 2001 issue of the New York Times. Although the reporter spent a full three days touring Hanford and B Reactor, the article was quite brief. But names were spelled correctly. If you’re registered at the NY Times, you can read it the article at:
Contract for Tour Services
We’ve just signed a contract with Bechtel for us to provide tour guides for tours at B Reactor. This will nicely cover our own expenses since we’ve been offering a small honorarium to our guides, and an extra sum to whoever drives the car to the reactor.
The contract was ushered through the system by Dru Butler, who I think understands that we fill a valuable role at B Reactor. The contract is small on the Hanford scale, but will make it easier for us to conduct our own affairs, while also formalizing our relationship with Bechtel and the DOE, whom the contract covers. And the recognition is appreciated, too, that we’re providing a service that has a certain value.
I’ll also point out that when we have provided B Reactor tours for Battelle (PNNL) in the past, they have graciously and on their own volition, sent us a small “thank you” in the form of a check.
Now, if we could just schedule four tours a day, six days a week. . . . . . .
The B Reactor Project
Chris Smith, Project Manager, DOE-RL
The B Reactor Project, under the management of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Richland Operations Office (RL) and Bechtel Hanford, Inc. (BHI) continues according to its FY01 work plan. The Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) document is being prepared while ongoing surveillance and maintenance activities continue to maintain the B Reactor in a safe condition for workers and visitors, allowing tours and entries to be actively supported.
Tours and Access
Since the beginning of the year, there have been three tours of B Reactor. Two were technical seminars sponsored by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; the other involved a New York Times reporter researching the Manhattan Project. The first of eight 2001 RL sponsored Saturday “road tours” is scheduled for April 21 and will include a tour of the B Reactor.
A subcontract was negotiated to provide modest monetary compensation to the B Reactor Museum Association (BRMA) for the tour guide services provided to BHI and RL. The tour guide services are of exceptional quality and are much appreciated by the visitors to B Reactor.
Surveillance and Maintenance
Structural engineers conducted a detailed walkdown of B Reactor following the February 28 earthquake. Finding no damage, it was concluded that the building was safe for workers and visitors.
Radiological survey and re-posting work continues along the surveillance and tour routes. The Accumulator Room and the walkway above the Valve Pit have been down-posted to enable visitor access. While these rooms are not yet ready for full access (due to several tripping-related hazards), they will soon be open for limited viewing along the tour route.
The EE/CA is currently under development. This document will define the hazard mitigation requirements and the estimated surveillance and maintenance costs at B Reactor for a period of 10 years. There are three options that will be evaluated for the use of B Reactor: No Action, Surveillance and Maintenance, and Hazard Mitigation for Public Access (along the proposed tour route).
The B Reactor EE/CA (Rev. 0) will be available for public comment in mid-June 2001. A public meeting is tentatively planned for June 26, 2001, in Richland, Washington. The EE/CA is being prepared in accordance with the guidance and protocols of the Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) that have been followed in past EE/CA documents at Hanford. Dennis Faulk (EPA) and Chris Smith (RL) provided the BRMA with a briefing of the EE/CA process at the February BRMA meeting.
While the EE/CA is not intended to determine the final museum fate or related configuration of B Reactor, it is a critical step in defining the hazards that may present a potential threat to the public health and the environment. It also recommends the most effective mitigation measures to allow public access into portions of the B Reactor.
Other Points of Interest
The RL Site Preservation Officer, Dee Lloyd, has assumed responsibility for the management and disposition of historic items related to B Reactor, including graphite and boron balls. Dee will assist BRMA regarding access to these materials.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) recently sent its final report to DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham. The report, entitled “Recommendations and Preservation Options for Manhattan Project Signature Facilities at Oak Ridge and Hanford Reservations,” provides recommendations for B Reactor and T Plant, and asks the DOE to immediately pursue the designation of these facilities as national historic landmarks. The ACHP suggests that these historic places be administered in cooperation with the National Park Service. For more information, contact Dee Lloyd.
The Fiscal Year 2002 (FY02) RL budget, including funding for workscope at B Reactor, remains in question at this time. It is expected that budget guidance will be available to RL in early April. The FY02 budget takes effect on October 1, 2001.
The Day’s Pay
Carol B. Roberts
The summer of 1944 was very exciting to my sisters and me; we had never lived where so much was going on, and we knew so little as to why it was going on, but we were having fun. Everything was so secret. One thing that was not secret was the fund drive to give a day’s pay to buy a bomber. When we first arrived in Richland in the early summer of 1944, the campaign was well under way, with the slogan “A day’s pay sends a bomber on its way” on everyone’s mind.
What prompted this generous outpouring for the war effort? After all, Hanford Engineer Works employees were already contributing to the war effort by purchasing War Bonds through payroll deductions, and had exceeded their quota in the fifth bond drive. D-Day in Europe, June 6, 1944, was the inspiration to give more.
A carpenter crew at the B Reactor site wanted to do something to commemorate D-Day, but what? Wouldn’t it be a misplaced tribute to take time out of their essential war work to commemorate those men who were giving their lives on Normandy Beach in France? Someone suggested that something more tangible than war bonds was needed, “Like a B-17 bomber?” suggested one of the carpenters. The idea caught the imaginations of the other 51,000 employees, and $300,000 was raised to purchase the plane.
On Sunday July 23, 1944, a crowd of workers and their families stood at the Hanford airport in over 100 degree heat awaiting the arrival of their bomber. A contest had resulted in naming the plane the “Day’s Pay.” This reporter still remembers how hard her heart was beating as “The Flying Fortress” soared through the air like a giant silver bird. The hum of the engines was “never heard before” music that could stir the most hardened hearts to silence and awe.
The Day’s Pay mural at Richland High School
The mural of Day’s Pay at Richland High School.
Of course, the B-17 pilots called this bomber the flying fortress—it was huge and it became a symbol of victory for the allies and a prophet of doom for those fighting against us on the war front.
I remember the speeches, as I thought how handsome the plane’s crew members were. There was a moment of excitement as Kate Harris, an HEW employee, broke a bottle of champagne over the ship’s nose. Her son had been lost in action over Germany in April of that same year.
I still feel the chills running up and down my back and the tears welling in my eyes. I am sure if my dad had not been standing next to me, my shaking legs would have caused me to fall.
What an inspiring sight to see the plane rising gracefully from the field into the sky like a giant silver eagle. The roar of the crowd echoes through the hot barren land—our plane was in the air. The plane tipped its sunlit wings in a silent salute and silence fell over the crowd as it watched spellbound, until the plane could no longer be seen or the sounds of its motors heard.
Thirty days later it reported for duty in England. It flew thirteen missions with the United States 8th Army Air Force. It was shot down October 7, 1944, just two months after reporting for duty. All the crew survived, but they were German prisoners of war in compounds or hospitals. Each member of the Day’s Pay crew received five oak leaf clusters for helping to bring an end to the European war on May 7, 1945.
The HEW construction workers had purchased the bomber outright, not with savings bonds. The workers knew they had helped to bring about the end of the war in Europe, but they still did not know that a little more than a year after the Day’ Pay had flown its missions, their own time spent in the war effort would have an even greater impact on ending the war with Japan. The plutonium they manufactured for the atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki would forever change how we think of war—and it definitely changed our lives here in Richland.
What’s Been Going on Since January 1,2001
1/8 – Gene drops off paperwork for him and Del Ballard at the Fish & Wildlife office in Richland. These are applications for the Hanford Reach National Monument advisory panel, being sent in under the auspices of the BRMA (info can be found at: http://www.r1.fws.gov/faca). To make a long story short, they weren’t selected for the panel.
1/15 – Jim Stoffels has been told that a complete exhibition set of the Yosuke Yamahata photographs may be available. Eastern Washington University has the exhibition of the famous day-after Nagasaki photos. They were exhibited in Richland a year or two ago. The university is getting out of the field of traveling exhibits, and would like to pass them along. Jim discussed the possibilities with Chris Beaver, who represents (or speaks for) Shogo Yamahata (the photographers son) in Japan. They would like to donate the photos to a group like the BRMA.
After some discussion among ourselves and also with CREHST, it was decided that the BRMA does not yet have an appropriate place to display these photographs. When a B Reactor Museum or a Hanford Visitor Center or a full-scale CREHST becomes a reality, we can talk with them again.
1/16 – Dru Butler asks about the big tank in the valve pit. Don Eckert and his crew at B Reactor are doing some cleanup work in the valve pit and would like to have an idea of what’s in bits of residue that’s still in the tank. A call to Jerry Saucier, Miles Patrick, and Larry Denton came up with the consensus that the residue could very well be diatomaceous earth, which was used for cleaning off any film that tended to build up in the process tubes and on the fuel in the reactor.
They would put sacks of diatomaceous earth in the tank, added some water, and turn on a big mixer in the tank. Then they introduced the slurry into the cooling water, which went through the process tubes.
1/17 – Lyle and Gene attend a meeting with about 20 others, hosted by Dee Lloyd (DOE cultural resource manager) to discuss the prospects for preserving or refurbishing the White Bluff’s bank. The DOE has done a study to get an idea of what needs to be done to slow the decay of the building. David Harvey had plans showing how a tarp (a tent-like canopy or roof) would be erected over the bank to help keep water off and slow the degradation.
Lyle read a heart moving letter he had written to Keith Klein asking for permission to find volunteers to rebuild the bank. Roger Jacob, a DOE real estate officer, explained what it would take for them to offer a lease to a group that would take care of the building. But no one knows if the building will be rebuilt for occupation or just to stand as a structure. It was an interesting exercise that gave a tiny glimpse of what might be in store for B Reactor.
1/17 – Gene talks with Rob Sitsler at Bechtel about the graphite cache at K Reactor. Rob had faxed the results of a radiological survey to Ron Kathren. The contamination on the graphite they surveyed appears to be natural uranium. At this point, Rob’s guessing that in order to make any of the graphite available for other uses, they’d have to survey out each block (a very expensive prospect), keeping the clean ones and sending the contaminated ones to the landfill.
But he also said that the blocks are all 6″ x 6″ x 24″, not the 4 3/16″ square that we need for a mockup of the B Reactor core. He also said that it looked like all the blocks had holes bored down their length. Again, we’d need both solid blocks and bored blocks.
1/18 – Del, Gene, & Lyle attend an informal meeting at Bechtel to hear how the EE/CA report is progressing. We have some questions concerning how the previous reports on B Reactor (Phase I, Hazards inventory, Phase II) are being utilized in the EE/CA. We are encouraged to hear that the report will define the tour route in the reactor to include the valve pit, lunch room, fan room, and accumulator room. There will be a public comment period on the EE/CA this summer.
1/19 – Gene talks with Dennis Faulk of the EPA about the EE/CA. Dennis emphasizes that public opinion will be very important in the decision-making process. He also noted that the cleanup work that will need to be done at the reactor will not all need to be done before the building begins to serve as a museum. Dennis also reminds us that the DOE is trying to accelerate the cleanup along the river (basically all the 100 Areas), and that they and the EPA are planning to follow a geographical approach. This means that the 100-B Area, in the far northwest corner of the Hanford site, is in a prime position to be released earlier, rather than later.
1/22 – Dru calls Gene to let us know that the graphite cache in the excess property yard is being released. Chuck Willingham has gotten approval for all the Hanford graphite to be transferred to BRMA for museum/sculpture/trinket usage. After the numerous letters and meetings we’ve had with DOE and Bechtel, this is a very encouraging step. Details remain, but it looks like the most important step has been made.
1/23 – Gene reviews Chapter 1 of the DOE’s Hanford history, written by Tom Marceau. Lots of material that lays a solid (and huge) groundwork for the rest of the document.
1/26 – Gene meets with Dee Lloyd downtown to watch the most recently released (declassified?) Hanford movie. This one is about the construction of the two K Reactors and PUREX in the mid-1950s. It’s entitled “The Hanford Reactor Construction Program” and “Building a Chemical Separations Building.” (video #5307/1). I’m not sure why it would ever have been classified, as it’s mostly a promotional and informational documentary
1/31 – Del, Jim S, Lyle,. Madeleine, and Gene get together to discuss some upcoming issues: the graphite from the excess property yard, EE/CA, the need for an MOU with CREHST, age limits for people on tours at B Reactor, Earth Day, and the contract for serving as tour guides at B,
2/1 – Gene talks with Dru about the recently released graphite. Beth Bilson has finally sent us a letter about it, and it looks like from now on, Dru won’t be part of any of the communications about the graphite. As it turns out, the graphite will stay in DOE hands and is being turned over to Dee Lloyd as a cultural artifact. Although this doesn’t quite sound like what we had hoped for (i.e. being able to use the graphite as we see fit), it does mean that the graphite is being preserved and will be available in the future. For what and by whom, who knows. The point is that graphite is an important artifact that will be stored at B for future use. There are still questions to resolve about how the graphite can be used, since it is a “strategic” material that the government does not wanting getting into the wrong hands—so how big can memento be before it rings an alarm?
2/6 – Gene, Lyle, and Dee McCullough go to B Reactor to meet with Patty Leigh Brown, a journalist from the New York times (see article in this issue of The Moderator).
2/9 – Gene scans all the B Reactor HAER photos and sets up a Microsoft Word document to print them with their captions, one per page. He burns it all onto a CD and sends it to Randle Sharp, who works with Dee Lloyd. Dee is planning to print several dozen copies of the HAER, and printing the photos, as opposed to running the photos through a copier, will give the best results. Of note today, longtime BRMA member Robert Lee Moore is inducted into the U.S. Soaring Hall of Fame in the National Soaring Museum in Elmira, New York. You can read about Bob’s contribution to soaring at http://www.soaringmuseum.org/hallfame.htm.
2/12 – Dennis Faulk of the EPA speaks at today’s BRMA meeting (he started at Hanford in 1985 at N Reactor). The EE/CA will have to cover the entire building because the Phase II study did not. If the EPA accepts the EE/CA, they will assume that DOE not only can keep the building open (rather than cocooned) but that the building will become a museum. There will be a public comment period this summer. If the EE/CA is approved, it will be followed by an Action Memorandum and possibly a Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) milestone setting a schedule for the cleanup work. Sad news is also brought to the group, Sugar has lost her mistress.
2/14 – Gene speaks about B Reactor for a lunchtime meeting of the local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He tries to begin his talk by wondering (and teasing) if there had even been any civil engineers at the construction of Hanford. After all, the entire project was essentially one huge piece of machinery, all geared to performing one task—making a few pounds of plutonium. Maybe there were only mechanical and chemical engineers. . . . but Del Ballard was quick to jump in and explain how civil engineers played a major role in the design and construction of Hanford. After that, the talk went well. One interesting question: “If B Reactor is so famous and worthy of becoming a museum, how come it isn’t one already?”
2/14 – Gene gets a call from Laura Harkewicz re who is helping to put together a Hanford land use plan for Darby Stapp for the DOE. It’s a “thematic” plan—what are the Hanford stories that should be told, and how to tell them? They would like BRMA’s perspective, especially since B Reactor is a prize piece of the Hanford story. The resulting document will put Hanford’s future in perspective, at least in terms of historic issues.
3/6 – It’s BudgetFest in Richland, the annual event that brings out the indigenous population to hear what the Department of Energy is planning to spend at Hanford. This time it was for fiscal year 2003 (beginning October 2002). Madeleine Brown, Bob Smith, and Gene all make statements during the morning’s public comment period.
The DOE emphasizes that whenever there’s a change in administration at the White House, Hanford’s future budgets are harder to predict. This time it’s especially murky, because the new administration has said that it will cut the DOE budget and particularly for cleanup work, which particularly means Hanford. There’s also the fact that when the new Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, was a Senator (1995-2000), he had sponsored legislation to abolish the DOE. So the normal budgetary process is expected to be slower than normal. We’ve been expecting about $1 million in the 2002 budget for post-EE/CA B Reactor hazards mitigation, but that may be even more up in the air than usual.
3/8 – Gene and Dee Lloyd meet up with two fellows from the Washington Department of Transportation office in Yakima (the South Central Region). Together they make a drive-through inspection tour of Route 6, the road that runs from B Reactor west to Highway 24 at the Vernita bridge. The WDOT is talking with the DOE about working a gravel pit on the site, and they offered to give us some suggestions on Route 6.
There seem to be two alternatives. If the reactor will only be open occasionally and with only a few cars (no one really knows yet), it might be possible to resurface the existing road and treat it as a one-lane road, with a turnout for incoming traffic every half mile or so, and a sign saying “Please yield to exiting traffic”.
But if a “real” road is needed, the general impression is that the road will basically need to be rebuilt from the ground up to make it acceptable for modern use. The primary issue is width—it needs to be widened, with 12 foot lanes and 4 foot shoulders. The existing surface could be broken up and a new surface laid on top.
3/17 – We receive a GE collectible from Bob Free—an “Attendance Award” wallet or business card holder, which he found at a garage sale. Gene sends him a thank you note with a B Reactor badge.
3/28 – Gene receives a call from the NY Times with a few more questions. Asked about how people might tour the building once it is open to public, and what parts of building they’d see. She wasn’t quite clear on what the situation was now, so I tried to explain that the next step would be not that different from now, except tours to the reactor would be regularly scheduled as opposed to just a few per year. And tour route wouldn’t change except it would be expanded.
3/29 – Gene finally meets with Dee Lloyd to discuss the “suggested” changes for the B Reactor Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). The few “suggestions” come from Hanford’s declassification officers, so they carry a certain weight of their own. One of these days this document will be truly finished.
A new year brought in new memberships, this time all are from Washington state. We thank you for joining the BRMA, and want you to know that your involvement moves us even closer to a “critical mass,” the point at which our efforts will become an ever-increasing flood of interest, education, support, and encouragement.
In the meantime, try to spread the word, even in little bits and pieces. “Bee Reactor? What’s that?” is the all too typical response when you mention that you’re in the B Reactor Museum Association. Very few people know why Hanford was built in the first place (“An environmental cleanup site?”), and even fewer know about B Reactor (“You mean there was a first one?”)
So we extend a welcome to our new neutrons or, rather, members:
Doris Casper Edmonds
Dexter Lien West Richland
Marilyn Perkins Kennewick
Hank DeHaven Kennewick
Richard Schuller North Bend
Keep in mind that if one member brings in another new member, or even two, our own critical mass will be sure to come.