Should Nuclear Reactor Be A National Landmark?

<p>The B Reactor at the decommissioned Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State is up to become a national landmark for its role in producing uranium for The Manhattan Project.</p>
July 16, 2008, 8am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The reactor is currently owned by the Department of Energy, which has indicated it will wait only until 2009 before deciding whether to "cocoon" it in concrete and steel for the next 75 years until a final decision is made on how dispose of it. Five of the nine former production reactors at Hanford already have been stabilized this way.

Park Service officials have been reluctant to move quickly on a new national park because of budgetary constraints. The Energy Department has indicated it was not in the museum business and was not interested in operating historic sites for tourists.ave the opportunity to reflect on and learn from the important lessons this facility has to offer."

The initial plutonium produced at the reactor was used in the world's first nuclear explosion at the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico and in the "Fat Man" bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The reactor now sits abandoned on the banks of the Columbia River. Though the reactor core is still radioactive it is shielded, and the rest of the reactor building and grounds cleaned of contamination. The reactor is open for occasional tours."

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Published on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 in McClatchy Newspapers
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