Manhattan Project Signature Facilities
Following is the list of the Department of Energy's Manhattan Project "Signature Facilities" approved by the Departmental Corporate Board on Historic Preservation in December 1999. Taken together, the eight Signature Facilities provide the core for DOE's ability to successfully interpret, whether in situ or through museum or other interpretive setting, the Manhattan Project mission of developing atomic bombs during World War II.
This list does not preclude protection and preservation of other historic facilities in the nuclear weapons complex. Just as these facilities constitute the core for DOE-wide preservation, access, and interpretation, sites may have site-specific signature facilities that best interpret that site's Manhattan Project mission from a local, state, regional, national or international perspective.
- Metallurgical Laboratory, University of Chicago (Chemistry Building and CP-1 site)
- In August 1942, Met Lab isolated first weighable amount of plutonium. Chemistry Building now a National Landmark with plaque and interpretive display. On December 2, 1942, CP-1 (Fermi’s "pile" at Stagg Field) produced the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction. Site commemorated with plaque and sculpture. Argonne National Laboratory lineal descendant of Met Lab.
- X-10 Graphite Reactor, Oak Ridge
- Built in 1943, was designed as pilot for the Hanford production reactors. Produced first significant amounts of plutonium. A National Historic Landmark, control room and reactor face are accessible to the public.
- K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Process Building, Oak Ridge
- Completed in 1945, U-shaped building measures half a mile by 1,000 feet. Gaseous diffusion one of three isotope separations processes that provided U 235 for the Hiroshima weapon (Little Boy). Gaseous diffusion only uranium enrichment process used during Cold War. K-25 prototype for later Oak Ridge plants and those at Paducah and Portsmouth.
- Y-12 Beta-3 Racetracks, Oak Ridge
- Produced U-235 for the Hiroshima weapon. Only surviving production-level electromagnetic isotope separations facility in U.S. (Comparable facility in Sverdlovsk, Russia).
- B Reactor, Hanford
- Completed in 1944, was world's first large-scale plutonium production reactor. Produced plutonium for Trinity device, Nagasaki weapon (Fat Man), and Cold War weapons. Interior of reactor building currently accessible by appointment only. A National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
- Chemical Separations Building (T Plant), Hanford
- Completed in 1944-45, separated plutonium out of production reactor fuel rods. Massive canyon-like structure 800 feet long, 65 feet wide, and 80 feet high. Contamination precludes access to interior, though interior can be viewed through closed-circuit television system.
- V-Site Assembly Building, Los Alamos
- Among last remaining Manhattan Project buildings at Los Alamos. Trinity device and later weapons assembled here. Other buildings at site destroyed by the Cerro Grande fire in May 2000.
- Trinity Site, Alamogordo
- July 16, 1945, test began the atomic age. Site, now owned by DOD (part of White Sands Missile Range), contains commemorative sign and other artifacts as well as the McDonald Ranch House and remnants of base camp. Currently open to public twice a year. A National Historic Landmark.
Source: Department of Energy