House Passes Legislation to Preserve Oak Ridge Manhattan Project Sites as National Historical Park

Says bill would “preserve and protect” important heritage of Tennessee and other sites that helped end World War II

Posted on December 4, 2014

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“Oak Ridge continues to serve as a global resource for scientific discovery, and this national historical park will give all Americans the opportunity to learn about the significance of the Manhattan Project and how it continues to shape our history.”– Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) today announced their legislation that would designate three sites of the World War II-era Manhattan Project, including sites at Oak Ridge, as a National Historical Park, has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in American history, and this legislation will protect and preserve these sites, including those at Oak Ridge, and designate them as a national historical park,” said Alexander. “Oak Ridge continues to serve as a global resource for scientific discovery, and this national historical park will provide the opportunity to learn about the significance of the Manhattan Project and how it continues to shape our history.”

“The Manhattan Project produced groundbreaking achievements at a critical time in our nation’s history right here in Oak Ridge, Tennessee,” said Fleischmann. “The legacy of the incredible work done in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington deserves to be recognized. The advancements achieved by thousands of hardworking men and women at Oak Ridge helped bring an end to World War II. The Manhattan Project continues to serve as one of the most significant accomplishments in American history, and I am proud that our legislation will honor these facilities by designating them as a National Historical Park.”

The original legislation, introduced by Alexander and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) in the Senate and cosponsored by Fleischmann in the House, passed the House today as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation would designate sites at Oak Ridge as well as Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash., as the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The park would include in its designation the Beta-3 racetracks and Alpha Calutron magnets at Y-12 and the K-25 Building site at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

Tennessee’s history with the project ties back to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s request of Sen. Kenneth McKellar, a Tennessee Democrat, to help him secretly fund a project – ultimately the creation of the atomic bomb – to help end the war. McKellar famously asked Roosevelt “where in Tennessee” he’d like to locate the project. “That place in Tennessee turned out to be Oak Ridge, one of three secret cities that became the principal sites for the Manhattan Project,” Alexander said.

 

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