THE MODERATOR – Summer 2005

From the control room

Michele Gerber
President, BRMA

The spring quarter of 2005 was an incredibly busy and productive time for BRMA and for our cause of preserving B Reactor. During April, we received a LOT of positive publicity, including an article about B Reactor in Spectrum magazine (now posted on our website), an article and an editorial favorable to us in the Tri-City Herald, and we had a letter to the editor published in the Tri-City Herald.

We also received the good news that the Department of Energy (DOE- owner of B Reactor) wrote a letter stating that it had no objection to BRMA proceeding with the nomination of B Reactor to be a National Historic Landmark. This news was especially important, since the National Park Service (NPS) had told us that it couldn’t really consider the National Historic Landmark nomination until the owner concurred. NPS also stated that the National Historic Landmark nomination was an important first step in the whole NPS process of studying B Reactor for preservation as part of the Manhattan Project Historic District Act which was enacted last autumn.

As soon as the Department of Energy sent its letter concurring with the National Historic landmark nomination, Congressman Doc Hastings inserted two parcels of funding for B Reactor into the House version of the fiscal year 2006 federal budget. One million dollars of funding will go to DOE for upkeep, maintenance and repairs to B Reactor (hopefully the $800,000 new roof that we have been pushing for, plus general maintenance). Another $250,000 will go to the Department of the Interior for the NPS feasibility study for preserving B Reactor. This amount of money will surely keep the study alive in 2006…while we work for more funding for 2007! As soon as the NPS received all of this good news, it forwarded BRMA’s draft National Historic Landmark nomination for initial review at the Interior Department, and we now really have the ball rolling. Currently, we are awaiting the results of that review, to see if we have to make any modifications to our nomination.

In other news, we are celebrating and getting ready for further celebrations to mark the incredible 60th anniversary of the end of World War II this summer! As you know, that huge victory was made possible in August 1945 in large part due to the successful operations of B Reactor.

We held a super fund-raising event at Bookwalter winery on June 18, attended by many prominent folks, including Keith Dunbar, Chief of Planning for the Pacific region of the National Park Service. We’re now planning a pizza supper at Atomic Brewpub in Richland on August 14 — the actual 60th anniversary of Victory-Japan Day. We’re going to invite the media and our elected officials, and we especially hope our “B Reactor veterans” will join us so they can tell their stories to the press. I think we can use this opportunity to talk to the media not just about our history but about our cause — preserving B Reactor. We need to leverage the past to serve our present goal, always weaving the B Reactor preservation message into any story, interview, or historical feature about the war’s end.

We also hope to be one of three sponsors for a reception for Congressional staff members who will visit Hanford in August. Once again, we’ll push our message, and invite these folks to be our allies in lobbying for B Reactor.

In many other ways, we’re trying to garner publicity, get out and talk with regional leaders, and generally make it hard for anyone to even think of saying no to B Reactor. Michele toured Terry Richard, Travel writer for the Oregonian newspaper (Portland) last month, and he will write a feature story in the July 10 (Sunday) issue of the Oregonian. Also, several of us toured members of the Richland Public Facilities District (PFD) through the reactor, because the PFD is the sponsoring organization for the partnership building the Hanford Reach National Monument Visitor and Heritage Center at Columbia Point. We still see the Reach Center as a possible operating partner for B Reactor in future tourism.

In conclusion, let me tell you that I think we have some great momentum going this year, and BRMA is becoming a central part of community planning. We’re getting more and more invitations to speak, and our message is being heard. Thanks to all of you for your continued support and hard work. lattice.gif (880 bytes)

BRMA Speakers’ Bureau Staying Busy!

Sally Ann Potter
Chair, Public Relations and Publicity

The BRMA Speakers Bureau is receiving numerous calls for B Reactor programs! Over the last three months members of the Speakers Bureau have given four BRMA presentations. On April 26th Bob and Sally Ann Potter were the luncheon speakers for the Prosser Chamber of Commerce; Del Ballard was the luncheon speaker for the Government Retirees Association on May 4th; on May 31st Tim Johnson got up early on the day after Memorial Day to present the breakfast program at the Atomic City Kiwanis Club; and on June 30th Bob Smith gave a presentation to the folks at Altera Wynwood of Columbia Edgewater.

We have three upcoming programs in August. On August 2nd Michele will give a luncheon presentation to the Richland Rotary Club; August 11th and 15th we’ve been asked to be the luncheon program for the Columbia Center Rotary at the Three Rivers Convention Center; and on August 15th we are the scheduled luncheon program for the River Side Rotary Club at Anthony’s Homeport. In addition, on September 22nd, Michele is scheduled to give a B Reactor update to the TRIDEC Board of Directors.

As you can see, the Speakers Bureau is staying quite busy over the summer months and we expect that it will continue to stay this busy well into the fall and winter. Thanks to all our BRMA members who have signed up to be part of the Speakers Bureau. We have a great story to tell about the history of B Reactor and the progress we are making to preserve this national treasure.

BRMA has purchased a new laptop computer and projector for us to use with the PowerPoint program that John Crigler from Bechtel Hanford helped us put together. The quality of the presentation graphics using the new equipment is far superior to those when transparencies and an overhead projector are used. The equipment is really easy to set-up and you don’t have to be a computer genus to operate the system. We will be giving instructions in the use of the new equipment later in July to the members of the Speakers Bureau and any other BRMA members who may be interested. lattice.gif (880 bytes)

Atomic Heritage Foundation Involved in Cross-Country Efforts

Cynthia C. Kelly and Sofia Mata-Leclerc
Atomic Heritage Foundation

Tourists, history buffs and Manhattan Project veterans on the other side of the country will soon have the opportunity to learn more about the important role of Hanford’s B-Reactor. The Hagley Museum, located at the site of the original DuPont gunpowder mills near Wilmington, Delaware, will show the Atomic Heritage Foundation’s documentary “Hanford’s Secret Wartime Mission: 1943-1945.” The showing is the first on the East coast and will be followed by a reception to honor those Manhattan Project veterans — Harry Kamack, John Tepe, and Russ Stanton — and relatives of Crawford Greenewalt — David Greenewalt, Nancy Frederick, Frederick Greenewalt and Irenee du Pont, who contributed to the film.

During World War II, after giving in to President Roosevelt’s personal request, DuPont agreed to design, build and operate the world’s first plutonium production reactor. Working with Enrico Fermi and the physicists at the University of Chicago, Crawford Greenewalt headed DuPont’s efforts to build the B Reactor and other essential facilities at Hanford. The Atomic Heritage Foundation is pleased to contribute the film to the Hagley Museum’s exhibits and place DuPont’s role in context while highlighting Hanford’s achievements. Copies of “Hanford’s Secret Wartime Mission” are available through the Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) at and at the CREHST museum in Richland, WA.

The Foundation also recently hosted a “Lunch on the Lawn” in front of the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Held under a big tent on Friday, June 17th, the barbeque was one of the highlights of the Secret City Festival’s Manhattan Project reunion events. The lunch honored Bob Dyer and Bill Wilcox, two Manhattan Project veterans, who spoke about their Oak Ridge experiences. Gerald Boyd, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Operations Manager, and Mike Hughes, President of Bechtel Jacobs, spoke about the possibilities of preserving the North End of the K-25 plant. Because of their leadership, this section of the mile-long K-25 plant, about six percent of the original, may be preserved for future generations.

The Intermountain Region was not forgotten in the Foundation’s mission to preserve the history of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age as President Cindy Kelly went to Idaho for the May 24, 2005 unveiling of companion exhibits at the Experimental Breeder Reactor-1 (EBR-1) and the Museum of Idaho. The exhibits, collectively entitled “Race for Atomic Power,” examine the important roles of the EBR-1 and the other reactors built at the National Reactor Testing Station as part of the Atomic Energy Commission’s quest to adapt nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in the decades from 1950 to the early 1970s.

The exhibits were made possible by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust and other donors whose contributions matched a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant. If you have a chance to go to Idaho, the exhibits will be open at EBR-1 all summer and year-round at the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls. AHF has also produced two companion pieces: a colorful, 36-page brief history and a 30-minute documentary film on the “Race for Atomic Power” that are also available through the Atomic Heritage Foundation’s website.

Most recently, the Foundation has been asked to contribute several oral histories from our Manhattan Project collection for use in an upcoming C-SPAN radio program to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. We are waiting to hear what interviews may be aired in August but have provided interviews from Hanford as well as the other sites. Stay tuned! lattice.gif (880 bytes)

BRMA Statement at DOE State of the Site Meeting, 15 June 2005

Sally Ann Potter
Chair, Public Relations and Publicity

Good evening, my name is Sally Ann Potter, Director of Public Affairs for the B Reactor Museum Association.

On behalf of BRMA and the many supporters of the preservation of B Reactor, I would like to thank DOE, EPA and the Department of Ecology for delaying the final decision on the disposition of B Reactor until after the completion of the National Park Service study on preserving Manhattan Project Signature Facilities, including B Reactor.

The study was authorized by Congress and President Bush last year. Senators Cantwell and Murray together with Congressman Hastings have placed funding for the study in the 2006 Department of Interior appropriations bills in both the Senate and House. The results of the NPS study on the preservation of B Reactor should be completed within the next two years.

Let me briefly report on additional progress being made in our quest to preserve B Reactor.

In April 2002, Mr. Klein wrote to BRMA, and I quote: “RL will consider ‘public use’ options if a capable partner is found to provide funding and assume operational responsibility for a long-term preservation mission for B Reactor. It is possible that a private or government group could step forward with a viable proposal for preservation.”

Significant progress has been made to meet those conditions:

The City of Richland Public Facilities District has completed the design of a large Hanford Reach National Monument Heritage and Visitor Center to be built at Columbia Point South. The Center is scheduled to open in 2008. It is planned that the Center will be operated for the Public Facilities District by a non-profit corporation made up of a partnership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Environmental Science and Technology Foundation that currently operates the CREHST museum, and the Friends of the Hanford Reach National Monument.

BRMA, the Public Facilities District and the operating partnership have initiated discussions on a Memorandum of Agreement that will include a proposal to operate B Reactor as a historical interpreted exhibit as part of The Reach Heritage and Visitor Center.

While the National Park Service study and preservation options are being pursued, BRMA requests that public access and tours of B Reactor be allowed to continue and expand until the final decision on B Reactor is made.

In December 2001, DOE and EPA signed an Action Description Memorandum that authorized public access and tours of B Reactor for a 10 year period.

BRMA is pleased that DOE has successfully awarded the new River Corridor Closure contract. We request that the new contract include continued support for public access and tours of B Reactor in accordance with the Action Description Memorandum and that the existing subcontract with BRMA to provide tour guide services be continued.

And finally, BRMA requests that the final decision on the disposition of B Reactor be delayed as long as possible to allow time for the preservation options to be pursued. We request that any steps to cocoon B Reactor be scheduled after the cocooning of the K-East, K-West, and N Reactors.

Thank you again for allowing public access and tours of B Reactor until a final resolution is reached. We believe that preserving B Reactor can cost DOE’s Environmental Management Program and the American taxpayers far less than the $14-$16 million dollars it will cost to cocoon this science, technology, and engineering marvel that played such a major role in American and world history. lattice.gif (880 bytes)

Bookwalter B Reactor Bash a Big Smash!

Sally Ann Potter
Chair, Public Relations and Publicity

On Saturday evening June 18th, the Bookwalter B Reactor Bash was held at the Bookwalter Winery. It was a wonderful evening!

The weather was perfect! The winery was decorated beautifully with red and orange colored tablecloths on tables inside a large, white tent and in the surrounding garden areas. A large ice-carving of the B Reactor silhouette highlighted the buffet table. The food was great, the wine was some of Bookwalter’s finest, and the music was some of the best blues ever heard in the Tri-Cities!

The decorations included a number of abstract paintings of B Reactor, pictures of the early Hanford construction camps, and a continuous series of photos of early Hanford days projected on a large screen.

The Bash was attended by many of the “movers and shakers” of the Tri-Cities community. During the evening BRMA members were able to introduce many of the attendees to the progress we are making to preserve B Reactor. The possibility of operating B Reactor as an interpreted historical exhibit as part of the new Hanford Reach National Monument Heritage and Visitor Center was also discussed with attendees.

The result of the evening and the advertising of the event over the last two months provided invaluable publicity for BRMA’s campaign to preserve B Reactor as a national treasure. Not only did B Reactor play a vital role in ending World War II and have an immeasurable impact on the history of America and the world, but B Reactor can play a vital role in the future of the Tri-Cities community as a cornerstone for economic develop through heritage tourism.

We want to offer special thanks to the Hanford contractors who bought tables for the evening — Fluor Hanford, Bechtel Hanford and Bechtel National, and the new River Corridor Closure Contractor, Washington Closure Hanford LCC — and all the people who made the evening such a great success. And most of all we would like to thank the Bookwalter Winery folks who make this terrific evening possible! lattice.gif (880 bytes)

Special Meeting August 14 In honor of 60th Anniversary of V-J Day

Where: Atomic Brewpub, Lee Boulevard, Richland

When: 5-8 PM

Members of the press, as well as radio and TV reporters, and elected officials, will be invited to hear our stories of WWII, the hardships, the victory, and the early years of B Reactor!

Please attend. We especially hope to see our oldest veterans come and share their stories.