17 December 2009

Hanford B Reactor passed over as National Park

In 2004, the Bush administration mandated a study of four historic Manhattan Project sites to determine their eligibility for inclusion in the national park system. The four sites considered were:
  • Hanford Site (WA)
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory (NM)
  • Oak Ridge Reservation (TN)
  • Sites in Dayton (OH)
Five years later, in fall 2009, the National Park Service released a summary document of the findings of its study and a list of "preferred alternatives." The Park Service has ruled out the potential of including all four sites together as a Manhattan Project unit because of the vast distances between the sites and other limiting factors. In addition, the Hanford Site B Reactor, the nation's first production-scale nuclear reactor, was dismissed as an option for a stand alone national park. New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory is the only site remaining under consideration.

If you're interested in being involved in the conclusion to the study, the National Park Service is holding a series of public meetings in late January and early February 2010 at each of the sites under consideration. Information is on page 7 of the study summary.


  1. Making radioactive-waste sites a national park recreation seems a little unrealistic. I mean, we're having a hard enough time cleaning up the waste as it is, what are the chances we will ever get it clean or sustainable enough to have tourists and locals visit the "manhatten project park"? Unlikely. Although if these plans were to somehow be put into effect, I would support to idea to have the states operate and own the independent local programs, so it's not just another money scheme.

  2. I totally agree with, having the B Reactor as national park recreation is very unrealistic. I found the proposal of considering Hanford B Reactor as historical national park recreation to be very ironic. I mean what gives them the assurance that B Reactor would be cleaned of any radiations before it is display as historical monument. We are spending so much money in cleanup Hanford site, but there aren’t any guarantee cleanup technologies that would clean Hanford site as it was before the Manhattan project. I am glad the B Reactor of Hanford was dismissed in the consideration of becoming Manhattan Project National historical park.

  3. Thanks for your comments! It's definitely an interesting situation for the National Park Service.

  4. Even if it were to have become a national park, what would have been the immediate effects? We clearly can't even decide on a logical and appropriate way to clean up the mess so all that would have happened was the public would have been in the presence of extremely harmful radioactive material, further perpetuating the problems we find already with the site being fairly secure.