Friday, June 24, 2016

The Manhattan Project

Oak Ridge Tennessee
is the home of the Manhattan Project, one of the locations where the atomic bomb was developed. There is plenty of history to see in Oak Ridge. Oak Ridge did not exist until the early 1940's when our government decided we had to see if atomic theory would work to build a bomb. Scientific minds thought it would but the only way to prove it was to build it. 

We visited the museum today but could not get a seat on the daily tour bus that takes you through some of the top secret areas that still exist today. We will try again the next time we are near Oak Ridge. The museum entry was $4.00 each, quite a bargain for what they have in the large building. If you have not heard the story or seen the movie, it's another American historical event that I would compare to the Moon landings in the late 1960's. It's a one or two day stop to see it all. Here is the link www.nps.gov/mapr/index.htm so take a look. There are other locations in the country that also worked on the project. We hope to visit all of them.



Since this museum is science & energy, the first thing we found was this car "printed" by a large 3D printer. It's a real car with engine and all. This car may have been on a TV show about the printing technology last year .


There were three separate areas constructed for the project. There were 75,000 people living in the area for the project. The government took over the land and constructed everything. The construction project is a story in itself, all completed in less than three years. The museum has movies and many details about the entire project.
A model of the Oak Ridge "graphite reactor".
An early electron gun.
More early equipment
Still more and I did not get every detail about all of the exhibits.
If you know history, you have heard of the Enola Gay that dropped the first atom bomb on Japan. The second bomb dropped a week later caused Japan to surrender and ended World War II. That was the purpose of the Manhattan Project. 
Today, the nuclear waste is a big problem. There were examples of how they contain the waste. I did communications work as a contractor at Fernald in Ohio along with other employees where I worked. Fernald was called a "feed materials" plant which handled highly radioactive material. I watch the waste containment dome work from the main control room while I installed new communications equipment. That day had lots of people very nervous as they pumped foam under the dome to keep them from collapsing. Fernald was closed several years ago and cleaned up, now a nature preserve.