Alexander Introduces 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 March 7, 2013
“The Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in American history, and the facilities at Oak Ridge continue to be an important source of jobs and research for Tennessee and the rest of the country.” – Lamar Alexander
WASHINGTON, March 7 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today introduced legislation that would designate three sites of the World War II-era Manhattan Project, including sites at Oak Ridge, as a National Historical Park.
“The Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in American history, and the facilities at Oak Ridge continue to be an important source of jobs and research for Tennessee and the rest of the country,” Alexander said.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Alexander, would designate sites at Oak Ridge as well as Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash., as the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Alexander is the lead Republican cosponsor, and he also introduced the legislation in the last Congress. The park would include in its designation the Beta-3 racetracks and Alpha Calutron magnets at Y-12.
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 30 different sites in three different countries,” Alexander said. “As Americans, we have a special obligation to preserve and protect our heritage, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will ensure that all Americans learn about the significance of the Manhattan Project and how it continues to shape our history.”
# # #