THE MODERATOR – Summer 1996

Message from the President

This is going to be an exciting summer for the B Reactor Museum Association!

As discussed elsewhere in this newsletter, our Vision Statement has been redone. We have revised it to include our latest and best thinking on what the B Reactor Museum and the surrounding land should look like.

The DOE-led planning group has produced a draft Comprehensive Land Use Plan. It shows the area around B Reactor as designated for economic development. It does not contain a great deal of discussion of B Reactor beyond one brief reference. I wrote extensive comments for several sections of the draft, and sent them for inclusion. The DOE representative was very receptive to the comments, and I expect their inclusion in the next version.

No one knows what the change of Hanford contractors will bring, or what influence it might have on our enterprise. But that’s no reason to slow our efforts. We are proceeding with asking for a meeting with DOE-RL upper management to see what support is possible.

Another major achievement is our entry onto the “Information Superhighway.” As detailed in the article by Gene Weisskopf, we now have a presence on the Internet. We owe Gene a big “Thank You” for this!

I had the pleasure of hosting a Japanese Fulbright scholar on a flying tour of Hanford and the Tri-Cities during March. Hiromi Saimu is doing research at Stanford University for a year, and works for one of the regional Japanese newspapers. The following day, she was taken on a road tour of the site, seeing up close some of the areas she had taken pictures of from the air. B Reactor was discussed with me and with her host the following day. This certainly seems to confirm that there is strong interest in B Reactor.

We have many activities for people to get involved in:

  • Fund raising for carving the stones
  • Membership drive
  • Liaison with DOE and county planners
  • Writing grant proposals to state and federal agencies
  • Exhibit design and construction
  • Liaison with legislators
  • Hanford history and artifacts
  • Public information and education
  • Information for the Internet site
  • …and so on.

Our committee chairs could use our help in working on what needs to be done. If you have friends who could be interested in this important work, get them involved. Get an application into their hands (you’ll find one in this issue of the Moderator), and ask them to join. We need all the help, ideas, talent and drive we can find.


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, & Exhibits: Lyle Wilhelmi
Membership: Joe Hedges
Public Relations: Jim Thornton

BRMA Has Vision

Del Ballard

Our Vision Statement has been updated and refocused!! Members of the B Reactor Museum Association have revised and updated their concepts of the organization’s goals and what the future has in store for the historical B Reactor and the adjacent Columbia River area.

A revised Vision Statement has been prepared as a guide for actions by our membership and also as a tool for obtaining support and confidence from local, State, and Federal entities.

The principal elements will be the preservation and conversion of the 105-B building to a freely accessible public museum and the development of a park (cultural preserve) area along the river between the reactor and the bridge at Vernita.

The initial objective is to convince the DOE and the County planners that the affected land area should be protected as a cultural and historic preserve. This involves an area roughly four miles long by one mile wide and includes the immediate area around the reactor and all the land between there and highway 240 at the Vernita bridge. The riverbank area is envisioned as a daytime park that would one day include campgrounds with appropriate facilities.

Phase I of the Battelle-managed engineering feasibility study has been used as a guide for future planning. If you’d like a copy of the VISION 96 statement, see any BRMA Board Member. You can also find it on our Internet site (see the article by Gene Weisskopf later in this issue).

1995 Financial Activities

Roger Rohrbacher

BRMA started 1995 with a balance of $2120.73. We received about $470 in dues and about $140 in donations during the year. Our major expenditures included $170 to cover costs for the B Reactor tour that we sponsored on August 5 and about $165 to print and mail two issues of the Moderator. The year ended with a balance of $2267.86.

When the BRMA was organized about five years ago, we requested exemption from federal income tax under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

After a five-year Advance Ruling Period, we were required to return Form 8734, a support schedule, to determine whether we were qualified to continue our exempt status under IRS 501(c)(3). This was done on February 7, 1996.

Although dues and donations of money are always welcome, donated services are especially important to achieving BRMA’s goals. Some of our significant accomplishments could not have been done without the help of donated services.

We are especially thankful for the following services provided to BRMA during 1995:

Bill Lampson and Lampson Crane and Rigging for moving the 42-ton “stone” to Jim Acord’s yard, and ICF Kaiser Hanford Co. for moving the three smaller “stones.” (These large blocks of granite were used at the Hanford Site when an extremely flat surface was required.)

Bechtel Hanford Inc. for opening the B Reactor building and providing radiation monitoring during the public tour on August 5.

The Department of Energy for providing four large buses to transport visitors to and from the B Reactor for the August tour.

Many of our members, for donating their time and talents in order to reduce expenditures.

BRMA is moving forward, thanks to these contributions!

If I could remember the names of all these particles, I’d be a botanist. -Enrico Fermi

The Museum is (Virtually) Open!

Gene Weisskopf

I joined the BRMA last summer so that I could learn something about Hanford’s history and participate in its preservation. The project I’m currently working on for the BRMA fulfills all those goals quite handily–creating a site for us on the Internet’s World Wide Web (WWW).

The exciting news is that the job is “done” and the (virtual) museum doors are open. Our address on the WWW is:

Speaking in more realistic terms, this address is a temporary one, and the information you’ll find there is just a sample of what we could have someday. But we do, indeed, now have a presence on the Internet that proclaims, “Here we are and this is what we do.”

Creating a site for BRMA on the WWW may very well accomplish several goals. First of all, it’s a convenient excuse to collect those documents, photos, and other materials that are part of the BRMA and help to define it.

And what are these materials? Good question, and one that I’ve been asking quite often in the past few months. Since I’m relatively new to the group and to Richland, working with the materials we collect will help to introduce me to the BRMA and Hanford history.

When our documents are online, any BRMA member can access them from the comfort of a chair in front of a computer. It could be the first source you would go to when, for example, you want to see a back issue of the Moderator, take a peek at our bylaws, read our Vision Statement, or read our National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark nomination.

Our Web site’s introductory screen, or home page as it’s called in Web-talk, is the page that people see first when they access the site. It looks just like something you could create on a word processor–text, a variety of fonts, bulleted lists, and pictures (although we have none yet).

Our home page explains what the BRMA is, our goals, has our address, and has several links to other topics. A link is simply a word or picture that you can click with your mouse to go to a new page on the World Wide Web.

Textual links are usually indicated by being underlined and in a different color. For example, on our home page is the phrase You are invited to join the BRMA. Clicking on the underlined text immediately brings up another page from our site that has our membership application form, which can be printed out, filled out, and mailed in. With a check, of course.

Another link allows the reader to send comments or suggestions to us via e-mail (which would come to my e-mailbox at this point, but it could be sent anywhere we choose).

Finally, I’ve included several links to other Web sites of nuclear interest, such as Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford. There’s even a link to a copy of the full text of the Smythe Report, if you’re interested. It’s this business of jumping to a new page at the click of a button that makes the WWW so exciting and easy to use.

Later on we can include photos or drawings on the Web site. We already have access to plenty of photos, but not in a conveniently digital format that would be ready to use. Plus, photos can take a long time to transmit over the Internet (even a small picture can take a lot longer to transmit than the ten thousand words it speaks). So there’s no hurry in the art department, but it will come.

In the future, the sky’s the limit. We can, for example, display a picture of the B reactor’s front face, and program it so that a user can click on a section of the picture to learn more about that part.

Already someone has suggested a 3-D virtual walk-through of the B Reactor. Wouldn’t that be great? The software technology is appearing right now, and it’s already being done at the Smithsonian and other sites. But 3-D takes even more disk and over-the-wire capacity, and the real world isn’t ready for it quite yet.

Of course, all this neat stuff is a bit moot if you don’t have a computer and access to the Internet. And I realize it’s still early in the game for this type of access to be the primary means of connecting with the BRMA. Nonetheless, there are tens of millions of computer users worldwide who do have access to the Internet and who just might be curious about what the BRMA is all about.

With our Web site, it doesn’t matter if someone is in Richland, Atlanta, London, Lima, or Moscow–all will have equal access to the material we present.

Many have already shared in the work. Early on I went over the concepts and content of the site with Jim Stoffels; Del Ballard compiled a list of the group’s materials and sent me several pieces of them on disk; Pam Novak sent the Moderator on disk; Greg Greger sent the computerized transcripts of the oral histories (to be included on the site someday); and Michele Gerber has sent along a large report entitled “Summary of the 100 B/C Reactor Operations.”

Plus, I’ve contacted many others who have helped point me in the right direction. Your thoughts and suggestions about our Web site, especially its future possibilities, would be much appreciated. You can reach me at 946-1316.

If you do access the BRMA Web site, please try out the various links and pages to see how they appear on your system. And please drop me a note with your comments by clicking on the link …send mail to the BRMA.

Membership Notes

Joe Hedges

Like the U.S. Marine Corps, BRMA could use a few more good people. An increase in membership would mean stronger financial backing, a stronger position with DOE and the public, and a greater diversity of new ideas for pursuing our goals.

During the past year, our membership had been around 40, but good news! Our current membership is already over 60.

Your help is needed to make us grow even more. If each of us can bring in two new members we can triple our membership. Tell your friends…the BRMA wants YOU!