THE MODERATOR – Summer 1997
Message from the President
There are several important events to report to you this period.
First, we have our own office! Bechtel has very graciously provided us office space, a telephone, and a computer in their building. The computer accesses the Hanford Local Area Network, which gives our organization access to site resources. This is a substantial gain, and one that we are very grateful for.
Several of our members are obtaining security badges which will give them access to the office. There is sufficient space for storage of many of the documents and references which we use in furthering the goal of converting B Reactor into a world-class museum.
Second, Jim Acord has provided us with some text which we can use in working up grant applications for funding his carving of the granite stones. You will recall from prior newsletters that funding this activity is a major concern. Jim is working in Seattle from time to time to make ends meet. The objective is to provide him with a reasonable stipend so he can make steady progress in carving the stones. This is a large and important task. When completed, it will be a major and highly visible symbol of our determination to bring B Reactor to the attention of the entire nation, and motivate the government to speed up the process of conversion.
Speaking of conversion, there is now a specific milestone for B Reactor as part of the Tri Party Agreement (TPA), which sets the timeline for the Phase II Engineering Studyon the B Reactor (see Del Ballard’s article in this issue of the Moderator). This is a big step on the road to conversion, and the fact that it is now a TPA Milestone is a significant win.
We have been asked to comment on the “Draft Hanford Site Manhattan Project and Cold War Era Historic District Treatment Plan.” In fact, we are being asked to comment on just about every activity involving the modification, decommissioning or destruction of site assets. While most of this is not relevant to what we are doing, it ensures that we have a chance to comment on anything which might impact the use of B Reactor as a museum.
For those of you who missed it, our July meeting at the Atomic Ale Brewpub was GREAT! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, we were the only group in the place, and there was a lot of sharing of stories and artifacts. See the article by Gene Weisskopf later in this issue of the Moderator. And try to make the next one!
We continue to move in the right direction. We have made a great deal of progress in the past several years but we still have a long way to go. Your thoughts and ideas are sincerely solicited. And as always, we all owe a large debt of gratitude to the handful of our members who carry a big load in going to meetings, going out to the 100 Area, commenting on DOE documents, and otherwise providing input and guidance to the process.
BRMA Board Members
President: Jerry Woodcock
Vice President: Jim Stoffels
Secretary: Pam Novak
Treasurer: Roger Carpenter
Fund Raising: (vacant)
Health, Safety, & Engineering: Del Ballard
History, Artifacts, & Exhibits: Lyle Wilhelmi
Membership: Joe Hedges
Public Relations: Jim Thornton
Editor: Gene Weisskopf
Something Different for July
Summertime can often mean the doldrums for volunteer groups like the BRMA. People take off on vacations, friends and relatives come to town for a visit, and the weather is hot and dry and just begging us to go out and enjoy it.
But we managed to sail right on past any mid-summer doldrums when we shifted gears and switched our July meeting to Sunday the 13th. That was certainly new and different, but the real change was our meeting place: the Atomic Ale Brewpub and Eatery on Lee Blvd in Richland.
Owners Aaron and Devin Burks opened their pub that day especially for the BRMA, and had on hand a fine selection of their great food and brewed-on-the-premises beer and ale. It was a great atmosphere for our meeting, and about 30 members and guests took advantage of the occasion.
The Burks have been collecting an assortment of Hanford paraphernalia at Atomic Ale, which our own President Jerry Woodcock had noticed on one of his visits to the pub. We’re not sure what caught his eye. Was it the 1950s-vintage Richland phone book? Perhaps it was the programs from several of Richland’s Atomic Frontier Days. Maybe it was the large photograph of the B Reactor on the wall. Mostly likely, it was the B Reactor Brownie that was on Atomic Ale’s menu. Really, a rich chocolate namesake for our mission.
Anyway, Jerry opened up a line of communication with the Burks, and one thing lead to another (with about 34 other steps in between), and we decided to hold one of our meetings at the pub. By the time we calculated a critical path with the usual variables and time constraints, we realized that the only good date for some time to come would be that Sunday in July (Atomic Ale is otherwise closed on Sundays).
The week before that date we put together the announcement that all of our members received a few days before the meeting. It would have been nice (more polite, too) to have given you all more warning, but, well, what the heck. No excuses–the time was right and might not come again for awhile!
In fact, the late afternoon meeting seemed to attract some members who don’t regularly make it to our meetings, and it was good to see them all.
Other members couldn’t change their schedules and had to miss the fun, but that’s all the more reason to plan another meeting like this one in the future (with more advance notice this time).
We spent about an hour of the meeting showing off various artifacts from Hanford’s history. Tom Clement brought the famous August, 1945 It’s Atomic Bombs headline from the Richland Villager. The most amazing thing was that he didn’t find this at a second-hand book shop or antique shop–he cut it out of the newspaper on that day in 1945! Like many members of the B Reactor Museum Association, Tom didn’t realize when he first started working at Hanford that someday he’d be trying to preserve the building he was helping to construct.
Several people showed off their booklets of the collected works of Dupus Boomer. The Boomer man seems to be one of the high marks of vintage Richland culture, and an endearing symbol for anyone who lived in Richland during those dusty early years (we’ll be running Dupus cartoons on a regular basis in the Moderator).
Paul Beardsley, whose own history at Hanford matches that of the B Reactor, showed up with a video he will lend us called Atomic Espionage. Turns out that even at Hanford there was some spying going on. Paul had just been featured in a front-page article in the Tri-City Herald, so his fame preceded him in a big way.
Perhaps the star of the show was Carol Roberts, with her huge scrapbook of clippings and mementoes from the last 50 years in Richland. It seemed that no matter what someone might bring up about Richland or Hanford, Carol could find the original article about it in her scrapbook. Sort of a walking Smithsonian. She has promised to slip us a tidbit every now and then, although she has also promised herself to re-reorganize her scrapbooks someday. We’ll see.
The meeting went on a good bit past our 6:00 target, but with the great pizza and handmade beers to be sampled, no one was in a hurry to leave. We finished off the meeting with a drawing for a door prize. The Burks had kindly donated two Atomic Ale glasses (with beer) for the raffle. The lucky winner was our own Pam Novak, who wisely decided it wasn’t necessary to turn down the prize just because she was an officer in the group (some of us were a little worried that if she had to decide between the prize and her office, well, why push it).
No, we’re not going to meet at Atomic Ale every month, but we do hope to meet there from time to time, if the Burks are able to have us back (“Hey Stoffels, get down off that chandelier”). We thank the Burks yet again for helping us have a truly different and memorable meeting.
(There are also rumors of an upcoming but still in the indefinite future fund-raising event we could hold at Atomic Ale. Does that sound interesting? A night of food and fun, right here in Richland, and all for the good of the BRMA. Let’s talk about it at our August 11 meeting; at the library, as usual).
PHASE II ENGINEERING STUDY FOR PRESERVATION
A very positive and productive step was taken by DOE, Bechtel, and BRMA on June 17, when representatives inspected the 105-B building for the purpose of identifying required facility upgrades and potential needs of the future “B Reactor Museum.”
This work, along with the Phase I Study, is to be the basis for the Phase II Engineering Study, which the DOE in now including as a milestone in the Tri-Party Agreement. That milestone is titled “Issue B Reactor Phase II Feasibility Study Engineering Design Report for public comment” and is scheduled for June, 2000. Also included in recent revisions to the Tri-Party Agreement is the commitment to “Submit 105-B hazards assessment and characterization report to EPA” by June, 1999.
BRMA members are very pleased at these recent developments, which show that the DOE is committed to pursuing our objectives of preserving and converting the B Reactor to a public museum.
The Dupus Boomer character and cartoon are © Dick Donnell; all rights reserved.
If 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 are happy to present Dupus in the Moderator, where we expect he will add a bit of zest, wit, and fondness to these pages.
Special thanks this month to Ray Isaacson for making a copy of his Dupus Boomer collection for the Moderator. Here’s our pick for August.
Post-war shortages early in 1948 turned some of our most commonplace articles into luxuries that were used only under the most trying circumstances.[Dick Donnell]