The Manhattan Project

Environmental Impact

Veronica Taylor's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

Veronica Taylor: I'm Veronica Taylor, one of the elders for the Nez Perce tribe and I work in the environmental restoration management program for the Nez Perce. One they call the community liaison.

Tell me what the Columbia River means to your tribe?

George Cowan's Interview (2006)

George Cowan: It's weighted so heavily in favor—not in favor of—but the emphasis on number one Los Alamos, and then Oak Ridge, and then Hanford, as the three secret cities or something. But the fact is the Met Lab at Chicago was enormously important. The Stagg Field reactor was historic in ’42, and its sort of dismissed. 

Rex Buck's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

Tell us your name.

Rex Buck, Jr.: My name is Rex Buck, Jr. R-E-X B-U-C-K J-R.

What's your Wanapum Indian name?

Buck: My Wanapum Indian name is Puckhyahtoot.

Can you spell that?

Buck: P-U-C-K-H-Y-A-H-T-O-O-T.

What does that mean?

Buck: That means, like, a bunch of birds coming together.

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.” 

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.

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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