Backers want national park status for reactor with role in nuclear weapons history

Tri-City HeraldJanuary 6, 2010 

Supporters of the Hanford nuclear reservation's B Reactor are preparing to fight to have it reconsidered as a national park.

A draft study released by the National Park Service in December concluded that only part of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory National Landmark District in New Mexico should be considered for a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. It ex-cluded Hanford's B Reactor and historic facilities at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge, Tenn., site.

The draft study's arguments for excluding B Reactor from a possible national park "are very, very weak," said Maynard Plahuta, president of the B Reactor Museum Association. On Tuesday, representatives of the museum association, the Tri-City Development Council, the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Hanford Communities agreed that the best course for B Reactor's future is to continue to push for inclusion in a national park.

B Reactor, which looks much as it did during World War II, was the world's first production-scale reactor. It produced plutonium for the first nuclear explosion and for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, helping to end the war.

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