The Manhattan Project

Corporate Involvement in the Manhattan Project

Paul Vinther's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

Paul Vinther: I'm Paul Vinther. P-A-U-L V-I-N-T-H-E-R.

I have a first name, Alvin, but never went by it so everybody knows me as Paul. And I first came to Hanford on June the 26th, 1950. I remember that vividly because that was the day after the Korean War started. And I'd been in the Navy, went back to college, and came down here for a job, and at that time GE was running the plant and we were known as “tech grads.” 

T-Plant

In early 1944, DuPont, the operating contractor at Hanford, foresaw the need for four chemical separation facilities. These facilities, designated the T and U plants at location 200-West and the B and C plants at location 200-East (the C plant was never built), would be located approximately ten miles south of the reactors.

B Reactor

The B Reactor at Hanford was built and operated by DuPont and was the world's first production-scale nuclear reactor. B Reactor was the first of three plutonium reactors constructed in the 100 area during the Manhattan Project.

Nash Garage Building

Located at 3280 Broadway, the Nash Garage Building was originally an automobile dealership which was purchased by Columbia University and converted into a pilot plant to create the barrier material for Oak Ridge, TN’s K-25 gaseous diffusion plant.

Dayton, OH

Dayton, Ohio was another site of the secret Manhattan Project work. In July 1943, Oppenheimer assigned Charles A. Thomas the task of separating polonium for use as the initiator of the bombs.

George Mahfouz's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Why don’t you start, George, by telling us your name and spelling it.

George Mahfouz: I’m George Mahfouz, last name is spelled M-A-H-F-, as in Frank, -O-U-Z, as in zebra.

Kelly: Is that Egyptian? 

Mahfouz: It’s Middle Eastern. The name is Syrian. 

Kelly: Anyways, sorry, next question—tell us about your background, you know, where you went to college...

Hanford, WA

Hanford, Washington, on the beautiful Columbia River, was the site selected for the full-scale plutonium production plant, the B Reactor. Today a popular tourist desination, the Hanford Site proved crucial to the success of the Manhattan Project. 

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